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Time to speed up climate action

Posted by Nick Prag at 26 September 2019, 20:25 CET |
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At this week's climate change summit in New York, the EU Council president Donald Tusk said Europe had already done much on the road to becoming climate neutral, but that it needed "to go further and faster".

Four years after COP21, world leaders met at the climate summit to define means to implement the Paris Agreement and to lay out concrete measures that countries and civil society will apply and continue to use to counter climate change.

At the summit, political, financial, and economic stakeholders shared tools to respond to the current effects of climate change, which are such an increasing concern worldwide.

The EU was doing well, said Mr Tusk, it had exceeded its emission reduction target for 2020, and is set to surpass its target for 2030. Instead of the foreseen 40%, he said, the EU expected a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of around 45%, as compared to 1990 levels.

Turning targets into concrete action is what is most important, and a lot of investment is needed if the EU is to become climate neutral by 2050.

25 per cent of the EU's next long-term budget is being dedicated to climate-related activities. Private capital is being brought in, and Mr Tusk announced that in the coming weeks, the EU, in partnership with like-minded countries worldwide, will launch the "International Platform on Sustainable Finance". This, he says, will "help private investors to identify and take advantage of the green investment opportunities across the globe."

There is also reason for optimism as the new president-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen plans to present a 'European Green Deal' in her first one hundred days in office. She has suggested strengthening the EU's emission reduction target for 2030 to 50% or even 55% "in a responsible way".

The EU has shown itself to be a leading player in global climate action. What Europe now needs to do, if it is to reach its target of climate neutrality, is to speed up its efforts towards adopting a more ambitious climate target by early next year.

According to the Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, bringing it in line with the Paris Agreement's target to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C will require emissions to be reduced by 65% by 2030.

UN Climate Action summit, 23/09/2019

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Nick Prag

Nick Prag

Nick Prag is founder and managing editor of Prior to EUbusiness, he was senior editor at Europe Online SA in Luxembourg, where he played a major part in the launch of Europe Online International.