ECO waited with bated breath for the European Council decision on the EU’s climate and energy package as news trickled through in the early hours of Friday morning.
Is this package, setting a reduction target of “at least” 40% by 2030, up to the challenge of preventing dangerous climate change and staying well below 2°C? The short answer is no. The longer answer is still no, unless other Parties are willing to make up the remainder of the EU’s fair share.
Either way, the package shows that the EU isn’t serious about the necessary transformation away from dirty fossil fuels towards 100% clean energy by mid-century.
Of course, the EU is first in the class to submit its homework (take note, fellow developed country Parties). But being the first does not mean being the best, and ECO sees a lot of room for improvement. The EU may want to review and improve its proposed 2030 target with the word ambition always in mind. There is at least an opening for such an outcome, as the two key words “at least” leave room to bring the reduction target (and the renewable energy and energy efficiency targets) more in line with the 2°C limit. ECO calls on EU Member States to make every effort to do this, as the last thing the world needs is a lock-in of low ambition in the Paris agreement.
A discussion is also needed about the EU’s obsession with its ten year cycle — five-year cycles are much more suitable to avoid a dangerous lock-in of low ambition.
And ECO hasn’t forgotten the EU’s environment and finance ministers. Their respective council meetings over the next weeks have the potential to keep the EU keep working hard on the road to Lima and thereafter. Both meetings should send much clearer signals to developing countries that the EU is serious about all of the elements of the 2015 agreement, importantly including the means of Implementation for both mitigation and adaptation.