Brussels – Incoming EU commission vice-president Frans Timmermans’s vision of the radical economic and social changes needed to tackle the climate crisis is promising, but he stumbled on some key details, said Greenpeace at the end of a special hearing in the European Parliament.
Mr Timmermans, nominee to be the second in command of the European Commission, with responsibility for EU climate action and the ‘European Green Deal’, answered questions from members of the European Parliament’s environment, energy and transport committees. He reiterated his intention to raise the EU’s 2030 climate target to up to 55% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. While an improvement on the EU’s current targets, it still falls short of what science tells us is necessary to keep global heating below 1.5°C and avoid the worst effects of climate breakdown.
Greenpeace EU director Jorgo Riss said: “Mr Timmermans largely grasps the scale of the transition Europe needs to undergo to avoid catastrophic climate and ecological breakdown, but stumbled on the EU’s climate target, fossil gas and farming policy reform. The EU must cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 65% in 2030 – that means a rapid phase out of all fossil fuels, dramatic cuts to meat and dairy, and an end to forest destruction. Mr Timmermans will need the backing of President von der Leyen and EU governments to make his vision stronger and turn it into a reality.”
Greenpeace is calling for the EU to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 65% in 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2040, in order to get Europe on track to fulfil the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
To meet these targets, Greenpeace is also calling on the EU to switch to 100% renewable energy, to radically cut meat and dairy production and consumption, to stop Europe’s contribution to global deforestation and to protect vulnerable people who could be impacted by the changes necessary to tackle the climate crisis.
On 23 October, the European Parliament’s plenary session is expected to vote on whether to accept or reject the incoming European Commission team.
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Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. We do not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties. We have over three million supporters, and offices in more than 55 countries.