European leaders have failed to commit to carbon neutrality by 2050 during a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on 20 June.
The failure to garner enough support for a full commitment to go “climate neutral, in line with the Paris Agreement” the stated target date had to relegated to a footnote on the final summit statement.
Eastern European countries, led by Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary – all countries that are heavily dependent on coal-fired power plants – opposed the move as they worry about the financial cost of shifting to green energy.
Poland’s reluctance to commit to the goal is being seen as justified due to the bloc’s refusal to discuss a burden-sharing mechanism to balance out the potentially adverse effects on certain country’s economies.
“We [first] need to get very concrete conditions on potential compensation mechanisms,” said Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. “A wording on just and responsible energy transformation is not enough for us.”
The final conclusions of the Summit emphasised that the European Council “emphasises the importance of the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit in September for stepping up global climate action so as to achieve the objective of the Paris Agreement, including by pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. It welcomes the active involvement of the Member States and the Commission in the preparations,”
Supporters of the 2050 plan hoped the EU could show it was moving in that direction ahead of a major UN climate summit in September. Instead, the 2050 date was dropped into a footnote that stated: “For a large majority of member states, climate neutrality must be achieved by 2050.”