Members of the European Parliament said on 6 November the EU should commit to net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 at the UN Conference and step up its emissions’ reduction ambition for 2030.

Ahead of the COP25 UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid in December, the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee approved on 6 November a resolution calling on the EU to submit its long-term strategy to reach climate neutrality at the latest by 2050 to the UN Convention on Climate Change as soon as possible. This would guarantee the EU maintains its world leadership in the fight against climate change.

“The Environment Committee is showing the way for Europe to be the first carbon-neutral continent in 2050“, said the Chair of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee Pascal Canfin from France. “While the United States confirmed yesterday its exit from the Paris Agreement, we reaffirmed today in the European Parliament’s Environment Committee that we want Europe to be serious about the fight against climate change”, he added.

Finnish MEP Nils Torvalds said Europe must be the leader in responsible climate policy at the COP25 in Madrid. “We put a lot of effort in having a strong mandate in Madrid. That’s the essence of our decision,” he said.

The MEPs also highlighted the need for the EU to raise its ambition level for 2030 in order to reach the 2050 target. MEPs expect the European Green Deal announced by European Commission President-elect Ursula Von Der Leyen to include a target of 55% emissions reductions by 2030.

MEPs said that current ambition for aviation and shipping fall short of the necessary emissions reductions and hence believe that all countries should be encouraged to include emissions from international shipping and aviation in their national contributions plans (NDCs).

According to the MEPs, EU countries should at least double their contributions to the international Green Climate Fund, the committee says. MEPs stress that EU member states are the largest providers of public climate finance and that the EU’s budget should fully comply with its international commitments. They also note that actual pledges by developed countries still fall short of the collective goal of mobilising $100 billion per year as of 2020.

Finally, the MEPs urgently called on all EU countries to phase out all direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies by 2020 and on the European Investment Bank to end lending to fossil fuel projects except for gas when used in combination with renewables. The global action made during the next 10 years will impact the future of humanity for the next 10,000 years, they said.

The European Commission has already proposed the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but the European Council has still not endorsed it as some countries are opposed. COP25 will take place in Madrid from 2-13 December 2019. A delegation from the European Parliament led by Bas Eickhout from the Netherlands will participate.