Brussels, 29 November 2019 – Draft plans for a European Green Deal would have minimal impact on the worsening climate and ecological emergencies, warned Greenpeace. 

Greenpeace has obtained a recent overview of the plans compiled by the European Commission.

Commenting on the leak, Greenpeace European Green Deal spokesperson Franziska Achterberg said: “This is a vast policy programme that marks a shift away from the Juncker commission’s deregulation agenda. But you just have to look beyond the top lines to see that the proposed measures are either too weak, half-baked or missing altogether. Responding to the climate and ecological crises requires a fundamental rethink of the economic system that for decades has rewarded pollution, environmental destruction and human exploitation. This plan barely scratches the surface.”

Commenting on the leak’s climate policies, Greenpeace EU climate policy adviser Sebastian Mang said: “The Commission promised the green deal would be an unprecedented response to the science and the demands of climate strikers who are again on the streets today. But this is simply not up to the task. The climate does not negotiate and the longer we wait to make the necessary changes in our economy, the more difficult and expensive it will be. Declaring an emergency is just not good enough. Closing down fossil fuel power production, supporting communities investing in renewable energy, investing in rail and public transport instead of subsidising aviation, banning pesticides and ending subsidies for factory farms are just some of the bold ways governments and the EU can take action now.” 

Politicians Talk - Leaders Act
Up to 100,000 people take part in a demonstration on the Global Day of Action in Copenhagen. The march is part of activities worldwide, directed at world leaders gathered at the COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Greenpeace activists hold a banner that reads “Politicians Talk – Leaders Act.”

Many of the measures contained in the leak are flawed, insufficient or missing:

  • According to the document, the Commission will wait until October 2020 to propose a “comprehensive plan” on a higher 2030 climate target. EU leaders will not agree a new 2030 target until after this impact assessment, which, Greenpeace warned, would not leave enough time for the EU to submit a new 2030 target by the COP 26 in Glasgow in November 2020, as required under the Paris climate agreement. 
  • Scientists estimate that current EU commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions would lead to up to at least 3°C of global heating and irreversible destruction from climate breakdown. Greenpeace said the EU’s proposal to increase the 2030 target to 50% or 55% is not in line with the Paris Agreement and its objective to limit global heating to below 2°C, and as close as possible to 1.5°C. Greenpeace and other environmental organisations are calling for a target of at least 65% by 2030, compared to 1990.
  • Under “eliminating all sources of pollution” the draft talks about “adequate water treatment capacity” and “monitoring opportunities”, rather than tackling pollution at the source. The sources of pollution are known, such as toxic effluents from factory farming that end up in rivers and groundwater.
  • Under “shifting to … zero emissions mobility”, aviation is only mentioned under a measure to “reduce” the free emissions trading allowances allocated to airlines. This won’t do to curb the projected growth of aviation. There is no mention of a kerosene tax.For cars, the Commission wants to propose a “new set of air pollutant emissions standards” instead of going straight for zero emissions vehicles. By 2025, sales of combustion engine (diesel and petrol) cars must end.
  • Under “designing a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system” there are no measures tackling the overconsumption of meat and dairy products, the impact of factory farms or overuse of artificial fertilisers. Without a change in dietary patterns, and policies to stop industrial farming practices, the headline objective cannot be achieved.
  • Under “the EU as a global trailblazer” there is nothing that would indicate that the Commission wants to move away from its existing trade policy, which jeopardises the achievement of the green deal’s objectives. The main measure is for the inclusion of a sustainable development chapter in EU trade deals, but this is nothing new. Both Mercosur and CETA have a sustainable development chapter. Environmental organisations have repeatedly highlighted that the contents of the chapters are not legally enforceable.


Franziska Achterberg – Greenpeace European Green Deal spokesperson: +32 (0) 498 36 24 03, [email protected]

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

Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911, [email protected]

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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. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.