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EU ministers consider decarbonisation plan as climate protests intensify

04 March 2019
by greenpeace -- last modified 04 March 2019

As climate change protests intensify across Europe and beyond, energy and environment ministers meeting on Monday and Tuesday in Brussels will discuss whether to back a plan to fully decarbonise the EU by 2050.


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Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets on 15 March to call for political action on climate change. This global mobilisation has emerged out of hundreds of marches and grassroots climate strikes by schoolchildren and students.

Greenpeace EU climate policy adviser Sebastian Mang said: "Millions of people across Europe are demanding action to respond to the climate emergency. Governments have nowhere to hide. Endorsing a plan for long-term decarbonisation would be a start. But to avert a total climate breakdown, ministers need to show that they're prepared to do a lot more, a lot sooner to ditch fossil fuels and transform energy, transport and farming."

In November 2018, the European Commission tabled a decarbonisation plan that would require the European Union to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Greenpeace has called for full EU decarbonisation by 2040 to avoid climate breakdown and comply with the global Paris climate agreement.

According to the Commission, achieving net-zero emissions would increase prosperity, create jobs, generate hundreds of billions of euro in health benefits and save trillions in fossil fuel imports.

On 20 February, the European Parliament's environment committee called for the EU to reach zero emissions as early as possible and by 2050 at the latest. MEPs also backed increasing the EU's 2030 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 40% to 55% (compared to 1990 levels). Greenpeace calls for a 65% 2030 target, in line with measures needed to restrict global warming to 1.5°C.

Several governments, including Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Luxembourg, France and the Netherlands, want the EU to bring its climate action in line with the Paris Agreement, while others, like Germany, are currently reluctant to back targets in line with 1.5°C. The EU decarbonisation plan will also be on the table when European heads of government meet in Brussels on 21-22 March.

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning network 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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