Video projection on Brussels EU buildings ahead of climate talks
Brussels – Urgent EU action is needed to avoid climate breakdown, climate activists warned European political leaders ahead of a crucial summit in Brussels.
Greenpeace volunteers projected a giant animation of the planet as a bomb with a lit fuse onto the European Commission’s headquarters, as government leaders prepared for a meeting across the road to discuss the EU’s priorities, top jobs and response to the climate crisis. The animation shows a burning fuse as a siren blares out and the following words appear in quick succession in English, German, French, and Polish: “Climate emergency. Time’s running out. EU act now.”
Greenpeace EU climate policy adviser Sebastian Mang said: “Climate breakdown is an existential threat that is already destroying the natural world and the lives of millions of people. An overwhelming majority of EU governments now back a long-term 2050 net-zero emissions target, but leaders must also show that they are prepared to take urgent action ahead of a crucial UN climate summit in September. The EU and the new European Commission president need to make the climate emergency a top priority, take action to bring emissions down immediately and hold the biggest polluters responsible.”
So far, at least 22 governments have supported the European Commission’s proposed target of reducing the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, which would require any remaining emissions to be compensated by measures like planting trees. The leaders are also discussing a review of the EU’s current 40% 2030 emissions target ahead of a crucial UN climate summit in September.
Greenpeace is calling on the EU to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 65% by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels) and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, in line with scientific advice to prevent a full-blown climate crisis.
Three climate tests for the EU summit on 20 and 21 June
First, the EU’s leaders must make climate a priority for those taking top jobs. European heads of state and government are meeting to attempt to agree on choices for the new European Commission president, president of the European Council and the EU’s foreign policy chief. Greenpeace is calling for Commission and Council presidents who will confront the climate and ecological crisis and make it a priority.
Second, socially just climate action needs to be a key part of the new Commission’s five-year plan. European leaders will also set the European Union’s political direction and top priorities. An early leaked draft of the strategic agenda 2019-2024 shows that EU leaders have not yet got the message that drastic change is needed to truly address the existential climate and ecological crisis, to ensure those most responsible – some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful corporations – pay their fair share, and to redress social inequalities and protect human rights.
Third, Upgrade EU’s climate commitment to meet the Paris climate agreement. This summit is the last chance for the EU to show it is prepared to shift climate action into top gear ahead of a special UN climate summit in New York in September. United Nations’ secretary-general António Guterres has called on governments to urgently upgrade their commitments to keep temperature rises below the threshold of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The EU’s targets, which were agreed before the Paris climate agreement, do not comply with the 1.5°C objective. Current global climate commitments would result in well over 3°C of global heating, unleashing disastrous effects for humanity and the natural world.
Sebastian Mang, Greenpeace EU climate policy adviser: +32 (0)479 601289, firstname.lastname@example.org
Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911, email@example.com
For breaking news and comment on EU affairs: www.twitter.com/GreenpeaceEU
Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.