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EU net zero climate goal: momentum reduced to a footnote

20 June 2019
by WWF -- last modified 20 June 2019

Today's European Council failed to deliver an EU climate neutral target for 2050. This is despite the flood of Member States voicing their support for such a target in recent days, reaching 24 in total.


 In the end, due to opposition from just three countries - the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland - the text only refers to a "climate-neutral EU", but without mentioning 2050 or any target year. It merely contains a footnote stating that the "large majority" of countries are in favour of a 2050 target.

Ester Asin, Director of WWF European Policy Office commented:

"The EU has dealt itself a devastating blow in terms of its climate leadership. It has let down all the people who have been massively calling for climate action in recent months, reducing their hopes for a climate-neutral Europe to a mere footnote.

"The 24 Member States who support a climate neutral 2050 target have failed to stick to their guns, and allowed their commitment to be watered down by just three blockers - Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. 

"The reference to being in line with the Paris Agreement in such a flimsy text makes a mockery of that Agreement, and should not be allowed to stand.

"A commitment to net zero emissions by 2040, and an update of the EU's 2030 climate target, must be included in the EU's updated climate pledge to the UN. We urge the Finnish EU Presidency and the new EU Commission president to help make it happen urgently."

The EU will attend the UN Secretary General's climate summit in September in New York, at which many countries are expected to bring climate pledges that have been updated since the 2015 Paris Agreement. The next official European Council is scheduled for 17-18 October.

The European Policy Office helps shape EU policies that impact on the European and global environment.