EU Commission softens climate stance, all eyes turn to leaders

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As EU environment ministers offer their support for more ambitious emission reductions, the Commission could be softening its stance, with its chief negotiator saying that he is open to increasing the bloc’s 2030 target. Last week, the Commission ruled out an increase, but was quickly countered when big hitting ministers, including from Germany, France and the UK, supported higher ambition. Europe was a key mover in Paris, building bridges with developing countries. With leaders meeting later this month to take-stock of what the agreement means for its 2030 goals, they are under pressure reinforce these ties by collectively aligning their targets with the rapid global decarbonisation and the 1.5DegC temperature limit agreed in Paris, and enacting national laws in line with December’s agreement.

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  • “It’s good to hear the commission saying that increased emission cuts are still on the table, even if this contradicts what it published last week. Without tougher targets Europe would be undermining and undoing the Paris agreement before it is even signed.” – Brook Riley, a spokesman for Friends of the Earth
  • “We have seen huge support from Member States for increasing the EU’s 2030 climate and energy targets. Doing so is the only way of standing by our commitments in Paris, such as working to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. EU countries have injected a welcome dose of ambition back into the climate discussion, after the Commission’s lacklustre input. It is now over to EU heads of state and government to push forward the discussion at their meeting on 17-18 March, and to give the European Commission a clear mandate for revising these targets upwards.” – Geneviève Pons, Director of WWF European Policy Office
  • “It may have surprised the Commission, but country after country has come out in support of stronger European efforts to tackle climate change. This should reboot Europe’s climate ambition. It’s a clear signal the Commission cannot ignore.” – Greenpeace EU climate and energy policy adviser Bram Claeys
  • “If we fail to act now we risk dropping the ball and turning our back on the climate deal even before the treaty is signed. This would send a catastrophic signal to the rest of the world. We expect the European Commission to take note and take action.” – Roland Joebstl, Climate and Energy policy officer at European Environmental Bureau (EEB)

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