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Denmark and 11 other countries call for bigger climate ambitions in the EU

Denmark and 11 other countries are calling for swift action in the EU if the UN Annual Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November is to bear fruit. The EU should raise its greenhouse gas reduction target in 2030 from 40 per cent to around 50-55 per cent. The plan to reach this target should be presented by June 2020 at the latest for the EU to take leadership on ratifying ambitious climate goals that will urge other countries to intensify their actions during international events in 2020, the 12 member countries stress.

The call for action was presented as a letter to the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who is in charge of leading the Commission’s work on the European Green Deal and the European Climate Law.

“The EU has both the ability and the potential to set a good example and help create a wave of global climate momentum, but it requires the decision to raise the 2030 target to be taken with timely care. The sooner we have a solid foundation for making the decision, the better. That is why we urge the European Commission to present their plan for a higher target as soon as possible,” said Danish Minister of Climate, Energy and Utilities Dan Jørgensen in a press release (in Danish).

The following 12 countries have signed the letter: Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

-Related news: European Green Deal strives for climate neutrality in Europe by 2050

Bigger ambitions in the wake of the European Green Deal

The letter comes in the wake of the European Green Deal, which prompted greater ambitions in the EU on climate action. The European Green Deal contained 50 specific initiatives and legislative proposals that will be presented within the next 16 months. Among the proposals were a CO2-tariff on unsustainable non-EU goods, a plan for the expansion of forests in Europe and more money allocated for research into climate change.

Most importantly, the European Green Deal contained the target of making the EU climate neutral by 2050. This target is among those to be bound by law in a new European Climate Law, the proposal of which is unveiled on 4 March 2020. However, there is no target in the green deal to be met by 2030 for member countries, which is what the 12 member countries are now asking to be part of the European Climate Law.

“With the European Council endorsing the objective of climate neutrality by 2050, in line with the 1.5-degree objective of the Paris Agreement, the EU has set itself on an ambitious path for the coming decades. Realising the climate neutrality objective by 2050 will bring great opportunities as well as challenges and the next ten years will determine our ability to deliver,” wrote the signatories from the 12 member countries in their letter and continued:

“A 2030 target could be included in the European Climate Law. We fully agree that we need a comprehensive and well-assessed foundation for taking such important policy decisions.”

-Related news: During COP25, Denmark passes Climate Act with a 70 per cent reduction target

2020: The year of climate action

All countries who have ratified to the Paris Agreement are committed to revisiting their NDC (nationally determined contribution) in 2020.

In addition to this, the binding European Climate Law proposals are unveiled and the COP26 is taking place in 2020. This has prompted signatories of the letter to call 2020 the year of climate ambition.

“2020 must be the year of the climate ambitions and everyone must deliver. If someone needs more reasons to act, the repeated cases of extreme weather are a constant reminder of the urgent situation we are in,” said Dan Jørgensen.

-Related white paper: From Policy to Action – Implementation of the European Energy Union



Letter to Frans Timmermans from 12 EU member countries

Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities (in Danish)

EnergiWatch (in Danish)

Photo: jasper benning on Unsplash

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