Sibiu, Romania – Student strikers from all over Europe and Greenpeace activists displayed a giant message ahead of a summit on the future of the EU in Romania, urging European heads of government to respond to the climate emergency. Official motorcades passed the protesters as they unfurled a banner in the city of Sibiu reading: “BROKEN CLIMATE, BROKEN FUTURE”.
With scientists warning that the window to avoid extreme climate chaos is closing fast and European efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions still insufficient, the protesters called on European leaders to make climate action a top priority and to increase the EU’s climate targets in line with the Paris climate agreement.
Greenpeace EU climate policy adviser Sebastian Mang said: “People across Europe are sounding the alarm because they know we cannot have a bright future without a stable climate. European leaders can no longer pretend they are providing stability and prosperity without tackling the climate emergency. But for most leaders, responding to the collapse of humanity’s life support system is barely on the radar. If they want a peaceful and prosperous future, they must build a fossil-free economy that protects nature and benefits everyone.”
The heads of European governments are in Sibiu to discuss the priorities for the EU in the coming years, with the fight against climate change not expected to feature prominently. They are aiming to reach an agreement on a “long-term” climate target at another EU summit on 20-21 June in Brussels. The European Commission has suggested the EU should reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Several EU governments, including France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal and Luxembourg believe climate action must be a cornerstone of the EU’s strategic agenda for 2019-2024, and want the EU to commit to deeper emission cuts by 2030 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest. Other EU countries, such as Germany, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, oppose an urgent revision of greenhouse gas reduction targets. Current greenhouse gas reduction pledges would result in over 3°C of global warming and devastating impacts.
To have a chance of keeping global warming to 1.5°C and stop climate breakdown, Greenpeace is calling on the EU to achieve total decarbonisation by 2040 and to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 65% by 2030. The world’s top climate scientists warned last year that breaching the 1.5°C threshold for an increase in the global average temperature would have dire consequences for people and nature.
A UN report said earlier this week that the sixth mass extinction, in part due to climate change, is a major threat for humanity, with up to one million species at risk of annihilation.
Over 16,000 students from all 28 EU countries signed a letter calling on European heads of government to take drastic climate action and to set binding targets for Europe to be carbon neutral well before 2050.
Sebastian Mang (in Brussels) – Greenpeace EU climate policy adviser: +32 (0)479 601289, [email protected]
Alin Tanase (in Sibiu) – Greenpeace Romania climate campaigner: +40 724 210014, [email protected]
Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 19 11, [email protected]
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.