Preparing for the Climate Action Summit by the United Nations Secretary-General in New York on 23 September, the European Commission on 11 September adopted a Communication reaffirming the EU’s commitment to accelerated climate ambition.
European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen said on 10 September she wants the European Green Deal to become Europe’s hallmark.
“At the heart of it is our commitment to becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent. It is also a long-term economic imperative: those who act first and fastest will be the ones who grasp the opportunities from the ecological transition. I want Europe to be the front-runner,” she said.
The incoming Commission President said her team “will take bold action against climate change.”
European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans from the Netherlands will coordinate the work on the European Green Deal, the Commission said in a press release adding that he will also manage climate action policy, supported by the Directorate-General for Climate Action.
Kadri Simson from Estonia will be in charge of the Energy portfolio.
The European Commission reminded that the EU has put concrete actions behind its Paris Agreement commitments, in line with the Juncker Commission priority of establishing an Energy Union with a forward-looking climate change policy.
Meanwhile, European Commission Vice-President for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič noted on 11 September that for the first time, with the Paris Agreement, all parties committed to reducing emissions.
“Now we must make sure these reductions are timely enough to avoid the worst of the climate crisis. The European Union will bring to New York the fruit of our work on the Energy Union: a realistic perspective of a climate-neutral Europe by 2050, backed by ambitious policies set in binding legislation. The EU has ensured that all sectors contribute to the transition. At the Climate Action Summit, we hope our plans will inspire other countries, and we hope to be inspired. Our message is simple: Europe delivers,” Šefčovič said.
For his part, Climate Action and energy, Miguel Arias Cañete said on 11 September the EU “has a powerful story to tell at the UN Climate Summit” later in September. “We are a global climate leader and our climate action is an outstanding example of delivery, including in the context of our Long Term Strategy process. The EU’s approach is to ensure that climate ambition is not only about headline targets, but about actual delivery on our promises, about making sure that objectives will be fulfilled and emissions reductions will happen,” he said.
According to the special Eurobarometer published on 11 September, Cañete said, 92% of Europeans support making the EU climate-neutral by 2050. “As shown by the EU-wide survey published today, our approach has a very strong mandate from our citizens. I am proud to share these messages also in New York,” he said.
The European Commission presented its vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy in November 2018 and a large majority of member states endorsed this vision in June 2019.