Sven Giegold

EU climate law: member states put the brakes on ambition, use accounting tricks to increase climate target

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Dear friends
dear interested,

Unfortunately, today started with very sobering news. After 15 hours of intense negotiations between the European Parliament, the Member States and the European Commission, the first European climate law is in place. But what should have been a milestone for climate protection turns out to be a sham. The strong negotiating position of the European Parliament, which we Greens – and my colleague Micha Bloss in particular – had fought for, was unfortunately watered down by the member states in key areas. Starting with the climate targets for 2030 and 2050, through fossil subsidies and the greenhouse gas budget to the right to climate protection – less ambition everywhere. A shocking result that unfortunately falls far short of the 1.5 degree target.

The EU’s climate promise is now in grave danger! But we want to save the Green Deal. Together with Micha Bloss, we call on the Commission and the EU member states to finally take their responsibility for the planet and the young generation seriously. So please sign our petition “Save the European Green Deal!” now and share it widely with your contacts.

2030 climate target with calculation trick

Officially, an EU climate target of 55 percent CO2 reduction by 2030 was agreed this morning. However, this target is being glossed over with a calculation trick. This is because it is a “net” target, in which CO2 sinks, e.g. forests, are included in the calculation for the first time. This means that we will in fact only achieve a 52.8 percent reduction in CO2 compared to 1990. The EU’s previous target is -40%. Moreover, the calculation of CO2 sinks by more forests is based on lots of overly optimistic assumptions. Climate change is already causing more forest fires, droughts and pest infestations – so it’s completely unclear where these CO2 sinks will come from and how safely carbon will be stored in them. The Parliament fought for an ambitious target of -60% by 2030, closer to Europe’s greenhouse gas budget to match the Paris Climate Agreement’s 1.5 degree target (even though we Greens wanted even more, in line with climate science recommendations of -65%). In the end, however, the Parliament bowed to the position of the Member States. The Christian Democrats were against stronger climate protection ambitions from the beginning. However, the pro-climate ambition coalition in the European Parliament of Social Democrats, Liberals, Greens and Leftists then collapsed in the last few days. In particular, the liberal chairman of the EU Environment Committee, Pascal Canfin, swung to the position of the member states. The Socialist negotiator for the Parliament is even celebrating a net target of 57% today, because she is including other – absolutely hypothetical – sinks. The EU Commission was no help to the Parliament either: it supported the net 2030 target.

Further details of the EU climate law:

Climate neutrality for all EU member states in 2050: There is – as demanded by the Council – only an EU-wide target for climate neutrality. The Parliament wanted not only the EU as a whole, but also each individual member state to be climate neutral by 2050. We were unable to push through this demand.
End all fossil fuel subsidies: There continues to be no legally binding target for the end of all fossil subsidies, which the European Parliament had demanded. However, the Commission will now clarify the definition of fossil subsidies. This could be the basis for further steps.
EU greenhouse gas budget: The European Parliament’s call for a greenhouse gas budget will be implemented for the years 2030-2050, on the basis of which a new emissions reduction target for 2040 will be set.
European Scientific Climate Council: The European Parliament was able to push through the establishment of a scientific climate advisory board. In the future, 15 scientists will evaluate EU targets and propose measures to achieve the Paris climate goals.
The right to climate action could not be pushed through by the European Parliament against the opposition of the member states.

It’s not over yet – Save the European Green Deal!

We Greens will continue to campaign vehemently for the Paris Climate Agreement. The consequences of climate change are already so dramatic that we have to change course decisively. Those who do not understand this are endangering jobs in Europe and entire livelihoods here and, above all, in other parts of the world. Strong and binding climate targets for Europe are the basis for sustainable investments in the European economy and thus the guarantee for long-term jobs and economic strength.

Now more than ever, the solidarity and strength of civil society is needed to save the Green Deal. Especially now, the pressure on the national governments and the EU Commission must be kept up, inside and outside the parliaments.

Because it is not over yet: We are not giving up! In the summer, the most extensive climate legislation package ever seen in the EU will be presented. The climate rules for cars, energy efficiency of buildings, and the crucial CO2 price will then be set. This package must put Europe on the 1.5 degree path. This is where the implementation of the European Green Deal will be decided and this is where we will fight. Therefore, please sign our petition “Save the European Green Deal!”. Together with Micha Bloss and all Greens in the European Parliament, I will stand with all my strength for ambitious climate protection – and hope for your support.

With green european greetings
Sven Giegold