Brussels – Incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced a new team of commissioners, but her game plan for the environment still falls short of what science demands, says Greenpeace. 

Greenpeace EU deputy director Magda Stoczkiewicz said: “Von der Leyen is selling her set of commissioners as a green dream team, but it’s the game plan that really counts. So far, von der Leyen’s plans to respond to the climate and ecological crises have fallen short of what science demands. To limit climate breakdown and avoid ecological collapse – and to do it fairly – we need a reordering of all sectors of Europe’s economy so that they work for nature and people, from energy to transport, and farming to fisheries.”

In order to avoid catastrophic climate impacts, global temperature increases must be limited to 1.5°C. Von der Leyen’s promise to cut the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 is not in line with what science says is necessary to achieve this. Based on research by the UN climate body IPCC, Greenpeace is calling on von der Leyen to present plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 65% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2040 at the latest. 

Equally alarming is the creation of a new directorate general for defence industry and space. This represents a u-turn for the EU, as security and military interests could take a stronger role than conflict resolution, mediation and peace building.

“Von der Leyen’s ratcheting up of defence represents a fundamental shift away from promoting the rule of law and peace. As a Nobel Peace Prize winner, the EU should focus on ensuring the respect of fundamental rights across the EU, as well as solving the causes of conflicts, like poverty, climate breakdown and human rights violations,” added Stoczkiewicz.

Contact: 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.