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EU summit: climate protesters force leaders to 'change course'

13 December 2018
by greenpeace -- last modified 13 December 2018

Activists calling on European heads of government to "change course on climate" diverted official motorcades on their way to an EU summit meeting in Brussels today, a day before the end of the UN COP24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland.


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Over 50 activists from nine countries blocked the main route of the EU's 28 prime ministers and presidents to the summit venue, locking themselves together and deploying a giant ice sculpture of a melting planet Earth. The activists held banners reading: "EU: change course on climate", calling on European governments to follow scientific advice and accelerate the rate of decarbonisation to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Greenpeace EU climate policy adviser Ansgar Kiene said: "Scientists say we have 12 years left for radical action on climate change. If by then Europe has not slashed carbon emissions, it will be to too late to avoid climate breakdown. As COP24 climate talks draw to a close, we call on European governments to stop pandering to polluters and change course on climate."

In November, the European Commission published a draft plan to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050. This followed a landmark report by UN climate scientists in October, which warned the world should halve global carbon emissions by 2030 to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C and avoid the worst effects of climate change. The Commission's draft plan still needs the approval of the EU's governments and does not address the need to raise the EU's 2030 climate target.

Greenpeace is calling on the EU to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 and to dramatically raise its 2030 climate target to increase the chances of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, avoiding the worst effects of climate change.

Across Europe, people support stronger action on climate change, including in Poland, where most people are in favour of phasing out coal by 2030.

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.

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