EU Decarbonization Plan For 2050 Collapses After Polish Veto
June 20, 2019
The 2015 Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global warming to under two degrees Celsius is in serious doubt following the collapse of European Union talks to set a target of completely decarbonizing Europe by 2050.
Today’s summit of the 28 national EU leaders in Brussels was the last chance for the bloc to up its ambition before a U.N. climate summit of all the parties to the Paris Agreement in New York in September. The hope was that setting a long-term target for the EU to meet the Paris Agreement goals would spur other countries to up their commitments at the New York summit – something essential for meeting the agreement’s goal to limit catastrophic global warming.
But the European Commission’s proposal for a 2050 net zero target, which needed a unanimous vote, was vetoed by Poland – supported by Hungary, Estonia and the Czech Republic. They objected to the commitment to decarbonization by a specific date, preferring instead a more vague time commitment.
The summit’s final conclusions say that the EU will “ensure a transition to a climate neutral EU ‘in line with the Paris Agreement’” – removing a reference in the original draft to the specific target date of 2050. A footnote in the text notes that 24 of the EU’s 28 member countries supported the target, but unanimity could not be achieved.
Climate campaigners and business leaders that the EU’s failure to adopt the 2050 target today puts the Paris Agreement’s goals in doubt, because countries around the world need to ratchet up their emissions reduction ambition by the end of the year. The 2050 target is needed, at a minimum, if the EU is to meet the goal it signed up to in Paris.