Recovery will "make or break EU climate action".

Jytte Guteland, the Member of the European Parliament in charge of the new EU climate law, (Swedish, S&D) has backed an increase of the EU’s 2030 emission reduction target to 65%.

Data shows a 65% target would bring the EU’s climate action in line with the objective of the Paris climate agreement to limit global heating to 1.5°C.

Greenpeace EU climate policy adviser Sebastian Mang said: “The big lesson of the Covid-19 crisis is that governments need to listen to the science and act accordingly – Ms Guteland realises that the EU needs to take the same approach to the climate emergency. The trillions that will be spent on the coronavirus recovery will make or break EU climate action, and a science-based climate target like this should guide those investments. The longer we wait to flatten and reverse the emissions curve, the worse the impacts will be, hitting those who are most vulnerable the hardest.”

The European Commission’s draft EU climate law, published in March, was widely attacked for lacking measures to boost emission cuts by 2030. The von der Leyen Commission has suggested an emission reduction target of 50-55% for 2030. This lower target would lead to global heating of over 2 degrees and much worse climate impacts, such as storms and heatwaves, sea level rise and flooding, droughts and crop failures, and the spread of infectious diseases.

Greta Thunberg and youth climate activists branded the EU plans a surrender with scientists warning that cuts in greenhouse gas emissions over the next ten years will determine the success or failure of climate action.

Ms Guteland’s report will be discussed and amended in the parliament’s environment committee this summer, followed by a similar process in the parliament's plenary in autumn.

The final agreement will be reached in negotiations between the European Parliament – led by Ms Guteland, the European Council and European Commission.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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