The climate crisis is an existential threat to humanity. Climate change is already severely impacting people’s lives, particularly in the world’s most vulnerable countries, but also in Europe.
Scientists say that we face a climate emergency. We need decisive action in the next 10 years to put us on a transformative pathway in line with the targets of the Paris Agreement, including efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. We must act immediately to get on track for a healthy, fair and liveable future.
This will not only reduce devastating impacts of climate change but also bring major economic and social benefits, attract new investments, create new quality jobs and limit health damages.
The European Parliament elections and subsequent changes in the leadership of the European Commission will shape the politics of the European Union for the next five years, a crucial period for climate action where emissions need to decline fast, targets need to be strengthened and ambitious action needs to be implemented. The new Parliament and the new Commission must address growing concerns about climate change and make climate action a top priority for Europe.
Therefore, we call upon the new European Parliament, the new European Commission and all EU Member State governments to:
Commit to accelerate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions as soon as possible.
The world is not on track to keep temperature rise to 1.5°C. We support the call from United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, upon all leaders to come to his special UN Climate Summit in September with additional commitments that will lead to halving global emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050. By the Summit, EU leaders should agree to reach climate neutrality in line with the EU’s fair share of the effort to achieve net zero global emissions by 2050. Furthermore, EU leaders must agree on a plan to substantially increase its 2030 targets.
Plan the end of the use of fossil fuels and provide strong support to energy efficiency, renewable energy and emission cuts outside the energy sector
Our economic development no longer depends on fossil fuels. In fact, energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies have become cheaper and are more beneficial for all. EU decision makers need to plan to phase out coal, gas and oil use, starting with immediately ending all financial support to fossil fuel infrastructure. At the same time, they need to increase support to research, innovation and deployment of clean alternatives, including through prioritising energy efficiency across all sectors and investing in sustainable renewable energy. Ambitious climate and energy targets should be complemented by stronger immediate action in all sectors to achieve quick emission cuts.
Safeguard a just and fair transition and ensure that the EU increases its support to developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change
The zero emissions transition needs to be just, orderly and fair, benefiting everyone and leaving no one behind. This should be done by integrating strong social measures, supportive industrial and business policies and safeguarding workers’ and human rights. Regions that are still highly dependent on fossil fuels, as well as regions highly affected by climate change, such as maritime regions, should be supported in this transition. Europe must also substantially increase its financial and other support for climate action and resilience in developing countries, which are being hardest hit by climate change.
Increase efforts to roll out the circular economy and increase resource efficiency
We live on a resource-constrained planet where using resources efficiently is necessary for continued prosperity and well-being. The EU should build circularity and resource efficiency into all future policies to facilitate the efforts to decarbonise all economic and industrial sectors.
Recognise biodiversity protection and ecosystem restoration as a crucial component of climate action
The zero emissions transition cannot happen without substantial investments in the restoration of our ecosystems. This must include efforts to protect and improve the natural capacity of forests and soils to absorb past and present carbon pollution, while promoting sustainable practices, within the EU and beyond our borders.
Time is running out and the urgency to act is crystal clear. Citizens, regional and local authorities, financial institutions, businesses, and other stakeholders are mobilising and acting at their level in every possible way to call for more climate action.
Now, more than ever, we look to our governments to govern, to set the necessary rules, targets, policies and measures to protect citizens in the EU and elsewhere from the negative impacts of climate change, and reap the full social, economic and environmental benefits of the transition.