MEPs call for higher EU climate goals

EPA-EFE/PATRICK SEEGER

European delegates attend a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, October 3, 2017. In a resolution put to the vote on October 4, MEPs agreed on recommendations to EU institutions and countries ahead of the COP23 meeting in November in Bonn.

US decision ‘a step backwards’, but MEPs hail strong worldwide response


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Members of the European Parliament have called on the European Union to set out a mid-century zero emissions strategy by 2018.

In a resolution put to the vote on October 4, MEPs agreed on recommendations to EU institutions and countries ahead of the COP23 meeting in November in Bonn. The MEPs called on EU leaders to implement the agreement with EU legislation and ratchet up the EU’s goals and policy instruments, the European Parliament said in a press release.

As all UNFCCC parties have to communicate their long-term targets by 2020, MEPs also called on the Commission to prepare by 2018 a mid-century zero emissions strategy for the EU, with the aim of keeping the temperature rise well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1,5°C. The process should begin as soon as possible, MEPs said.

Meanwhile, MEPs expressed their disappointment at US President Donald Trump’s announcement of his intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. “This decision represents a step backwards”, they noted, but they welcome the strong responses from governments around the world in favour of the full implementation of the Paris Agreement.

MEPs also called for concrete EU and international commitments to deliver additional financing sources. Lending and investment practices should be in line with the well below 2°C target, including divesting from fossil fuels and phasing out export credits (i.e. financial incentives) for fossil fuel investments, they said.

MEPs welcomed the development of emissions trading systems globally, as 18 of them are in operation across four continents. They encouraged the Commission to promote links between the EU ETS and other carbon markets, so as to increase climate ambition and at the same time help to reduce the risk of carbon leakage.

MEPs said they expect the conference in Bonn to clarify the structure of the 2018 “Facilitative Dialogue”, which will aim to take stock of governments’ efforts towards the long-term goal.

A Parliament delegation led by Environment Committee chair Adina-Ioana Vălean from Romania will attend the conference from November 13-17.

Climate groups hailed the resolution by the MEPs. Commenting on the resolution, Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said the Parliament is right to recognise that the EU’s current 2030 climate target is not in line with the commitments made by the EU under the Paris Agreement. “MEPs send a strong signal to all EU decision makers to step up and commit to more ambitious climate action. We hope the message will get through to EU governments, who are at the moment doing the exact opposite by watering down the already low national targets under the Effort Sharing Regulation,” he said.

 

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