Whereas in 2017  the EU has increased its emissions by approximately 1.5% (China 2% – US  decreased by 0,5%!) and  with 1688 weeks till 2050 to stop global warming short before these 1,5 degrees, the EU Environment ministers sent a strong political signal in the conclusions from their meeting on October 9, 2018  that constitute the basis for the EU’s position at the forthcoming COP24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland, in December.

“Today we have underlined again that the EU will continue to lead the way in global action on climate action. The EU needs to play a crucial role in this important issue. Today’s conclusions give us a robust and consistent position for COP24, ” said Elisabeth Köstinger, Austrian federal minister of sustainability and tourism

In the conclusions, ministers also react to the special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels which was published on October 8, 2018. In their conclusions, environment ministers recall the progress made in recent months by the EU on legislation which delivers on its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These include the new EU 2030 renewable energy target of 32%, the new energy efficiency target of 32.5%, the reform of the EU emission trading system, the emission reduction targets in sectors falling outside the scope of ETS and the integration of land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) in the EU’s climate and energy framework. Low-emissions and climate resilient growth is possible: The EU is continuing successfully to decouple economic growth from emissions. Between 1990 and 2016, the EU’s GDP grew by 53% while total emissions fell by 22.4%. The EU’s share of global greenhouse gas emissions fell from an estimated 17.3% in 1990 to 9.9% in 2012.

The EU Parliament Environment Committee deicided on October 10, 2018 to move beyond the 45% emission reduction the EU Commission is considering for 2030 and voted in favor of a resolution proposaing 55% CO2 reduction by 2030. The text, which will be scrutinised by a full sitting of the Parliament at the end of the month, urges the EU to use the UN’s Talanoa Dialogue to revisit its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) by 2020, as “the current NDC is not in line with the goals set out in the Paris Agreement”

Photo: Clean H2 production on Orkney Islands, courtesy BIG HIT project