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Regional Ministers urge EU Heads of State to cut emissions by at least 55% by 2030

8 October 2020, 16:40 BST 4 min read

Regional Ministers urge EU Heads of State to cut emissions by at least 55% by 2030

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Europe and the wider world, and its effects will be felt for years to come. As we face the resulting economic challenges, it is crucial we do so in a sustainable and resilient way. We already have the solutions to adapt to, and mitigate the effects of, climate change and it is vital that we now apply these solutions as we look to recover better.

Our regions represent 64 million citizens with a combined GDP of over 2.5 trillion euros. We welcome the European Commission’s leadership in placing the objectives of the European Green Deal at the heart of its bold recovery package. Research shows that each $1 million (over €885,000) of investment shifted from brown to green energy will result in a net increase of 5 jobs. Therefore, we firmly believe that the European Green Deal can act as the growth strategy of Europe: building a resource-efficient, resilient European economy and ensuring stability and prosperity for future generations.

We also think it’s vital that resources allocated to the Just Transition Fund, to support a transition to clean energy and to help workers and regions that are currently dependent on high-carbon industries, will help who propose a Paris-compatible phase out plan for fossil fuels to accelerate the phase in of renewable energy.

However, we cannot afford to be complacent, because it is clear our task is only just beginning: the hard work starts now to make our society and our planet healthier.

We call on EU Heads of State Member States to increase the EU’s 2030 target for greenhouse gas emission reductions at least -55% compared to 1990 levels and to:

  • Take ambitious national actions to align economic decisions with the climate neutrality target and invest in net-zero emissions innovation and solutions that create new jobs
  • Ensure all investments are guided by the EU sustainable finance taxonomy and make finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development
  • Remove barriers to allow the growth of renewable energy technologies and a carbon neutral mobility
  • Double the annual renovation rate for existing building stock to accelerate a reduction in emissions across the construction sector, which has a key role to play in economic recovery
  • Support subnational governments in their efforts to reach their emission reduction targets

As regional ministerial signatories to this statement, we are committed to delivering greater prosperity for all whilst protecting our natural environment or even focusing our efforts on keeping global temperature rises to 1.5°C. We are aware however that profound and urgent changes are needed now if we are to halve emissions in a decade which is crucial to reach climate neutrality in 2050.

We therefore urge EU Heads of State to join us in prioritising stronger climate targets to set us on a path to climate neutrality. As regional governments, we are shifting to climate neutrality strategies, reporting our targets and actions annually, and implementing regional policies to cut emissions in industry, and the transport, waste and building sectors, among others.

Profound and urgent change is needed now to reach climate neutrality in 2050. We have many of the technological solutions at our disposal now to invest in the sustainable economy of the future – we need to work together to realise their potential.

Signed by the following regional Governors and Ministers of Europe:

  • Anja Siegesmund, Minister for the Environment, Energy and Nature Conservation of the Free State of Thuringia
  • Damià Calvet, Minister of Territory and Sustainability for Catalonia
  • Elly Schlein, Vice-President of Emilia Romagna
  • Franz Untersteller, Minister of the Environment, Climate and the Energy Sector for Baden-Württemberg
  • Ignacio Arriola, Minister of Environment, Territorial Planning and Housing for Basque Country
  • Itziar Gómez López, Regional Minister of Rural Development and the Environment for Navarra
  • Jeannette Baljeu, Minister of Industry, EU and International Affairs for Zuid-Holland
  • Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Governor of Lower Austria
  • Lesley Griffiths, Minister of Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs for Wales
  • Dr. Maike Schaefer, Senator for Climate Protection, Environment, Mobility, Urban and Housing Development of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen
  • Marta Isabel Vieira Guerreiro, Regional Secretary for the Energy, Environment and Tourism of the Azores
  • Nicola Campitelli, Minister of Urban Planning and Territory, Maritime Domain, Landscapes, Energy and Waste for Abruzzo
  • Philippe Henry, Vice-President and Minister of Climate, Energy and Mobility for Wallonia
  • Priska Hinz, Minister of Environment, Climate Protection, Agriculture and Consumer Protection of the state of Hesse
  • Raffaele Cattaneo, Minister of Environment and climate change for Lombardy
  • Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Scottish Government
  • Susana Luísa Rodrigues Nascimento Prada, Regional Secretary of Environment, Nature Resources and Climate Change for Madeira Island
  • Tjisse Stelpstra, Minister of Energy & Climate, German and EU affairs for Drenthe