EU leaders fail to agree 2050 decarbonisation target


Brussels – European heads of government meeting in Brussels on Friday failed to back a plan to fully decarbonise the EU by 2050.

Once seen as a climate leader, German chancellor Angela Merkel is understood to have sided with Poland in refusing to back the 2050 target and failing to link EU climate action with an objective to limit global warming to 1.5°C

European governments have been slow to respond to growing public discontent over the lack of climate action. Striking schoolchildren and students led over 1.5 million people in marches last week in over 2000 cities.

Greenpeace EU climate policy adviser Sebastian Mang said: “European governments are kicking the can down the road on climate change, but scientists have made it very clear that we’re running out of road and heading for a cliff edge. Young people get this. Hundreds of thousands are taking to the streets to give humanity a future. The leaders of Germany, Poland and other reluctant governments have no excuse – they must act now.”

France, the Netherlands, Spain, Luxembourg and much of western and northern European governments pushed for explicit support of the 2050 EU decarbonisation target and the 1.5°C objective in the final summit statement. They were met with reluctance from Germany and Italy, and outright opposition from Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The final text only mentions 1.5°C in relation to global efforts, not EU climate action.

EU leaders are not expected to reach a final agreement on the issue until June at the earliest.

The world’s top climate scientists warned last year that breaching the 1.5°C threshold would have dire consequences for people and nature.

To increase the chances of keeping global warming to 1.5°C, the EU should achieve total decarbonisation by 2040. Greenpeace warns that the EU’s existing target to cut greenhouse gas targets by 40% by 2030 would condemn the world to severe climate breakdown – a 65% cut in emissions would instead be in line with science and the 1.5°C objective.



Sebastian Mang – Greenpeace EU climate policy adviser: +32 (0)479 601289,

Greenpeace EU press desk:  +32 (0)2 274 19 11,


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