EU foreign affairs ministers today underlined the sustained threat of climate change to humanity, and reiterated their support for the EU’s ambitious goal of cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55% by 2030, and reaching climate neutrality by 2050. To do so, the EU is calling for a global phase-out of harmful fossil-fuel subsidies including unabated coal in power generation, as well as promoting further technological innovation and development to advance the worldwide transformation towards climate neutrality.
Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans said: “We stand at a pivotal moment in the fight against the climate crisis. How we shape the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will determine whether or not we succeed. The Council’s conclusions confirm the EU’s commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, and underline the importance of working with our partners around the world. If all countries join a global race to zero emissions, the whole planet will win."
The Council’s conclusions renew the call for urgent, collective and decisive global action in the pursuit of limiting average global temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Looking head to this November’s 26th Conference of the Parties (COP 26) in Glasgow, the Foreign Affairs Council underlined the importance of the Paris Agreement as the multilateral framework governing global climate action. Ministers welcomed the intention of the new US administration to re-join the agreement.
Ministers welcomed recent commitments by international partners to reach climate- and carbon neutrality by 2050. The Council called on all countries to develop ambitious pathways, targets and policies towards reaching their longer-term climate goals. The conclusions also urge parties to align their trade, finance, aid and foreign investment strategies with domestic climate pledges and Paris Agreement commitments.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis, the ministers highlighted that, despite short-term emission reductions in 2020, economies around the world should seek to institute climate-sensitive economic recovery policies to provide sustainable growth and drive forward a climate-resilient, inclusive and just transition.
In particular, the conclusions highlight the need for green transition in the energy sector, currently responsible for over two thirds of global GHG emissions. Ministers agreed to pursue EU energy diplomacy to accelerate the global energy transition away from investment in fossil fuel. This will include the phasing out of unabated coal in power generation and an immediate end to all financing of new coal infrastructure in third countries. Efforts will be made to promote greater energy efficiency, increased renewable energy supply and the development of nascent green technologies, including hydrogen.
The Council recognised the threat of climate change to international security and stability. The ministers pledged to strengthen multilateral work on the climate and security nexus to ensure greater resilience and preparedness for the impacts of climate change.