Following the publication of the European Climate Law this week, European regions in the Under2 Coalition have called for greater climate ambition across the bloc.
Whilst welcoming the European Union’s proposal to be climate neutral by 2050, there is still space to be bolder and more ambitious in efforts to stop the worst effects of climate change. This is particularly true due to the implications of the EU’s climate policy for European regions, which have huge potential to implement changes that will protect and support their citizens while maintaining steady economic growth.
To achieve a world of no more than 1.5°C of global warming and greater prosperity for all, all actors must play their part. The 43 European regions of the Under2 Coalition represent a population of 179 million and GDP of $6.8 trillion which is equivalent to 35% and 36% of the EU population and economy respectively. They therefore have a clear role to play in future climate policy.
Franz Untersteller, Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector of Baden-Württemberg, and European Co-Chair region of the Under2 Coalition, said that the Climate Law is an essential instrument to help deliver the Paris Agreement. However, it needs to be adopted well in advance of the next United Nation’s climate negotiations (COP26), taking place in Glasgow in November 2020, to demonstrate the EU’s global leadership.
Minister Untersteller said:
“European regions are demonstrating leadership in climate policy delivery. They are unleashing the potential of climate action at the regional level and make a vital difference in supporting countries to comply with EU legislation and to achieve climate targets, raising climate awareness and encouraging local municipalities and businesses to act.”
Damià Calvet, Minister for Territory and Sustainability in Catalonia, said:
“The EU Climate Law is vital to modernising and guaranteeing prosperity within our societies, taking full advantage of emerging economic and technological opportunities and sharing responsibility in the climate crisis. It points our way ahead for the coming years and should be reflected within the EU’s regulatory, policy and financial priorities. Energy transition, circular economies and new mobility and urban agendas are key elements for the Green Deal in Catalonia.”
Raffaele Cattaneo, Minister of Environment and Climate Change in Lombardy, said:
“The EU Climate Law gives a legal basis for our political commitment towards carbon-neutrality: confirming the value of the regional decarbonisation pathways. The comprehensive approach of this proposal will strengthen our action In Lombardy as we are already focusing on integrated policies consistent with our climate goals. We shall not miss the opportunity to step up the ambition of our businesses, investors and citizens to lead on climate action.”
Tim Ash Vie, Director of the Under2 Coalition Secretariat, added:
“European Under2 Coalition members recognise the importance of enshrining both 2050 and intermediary objectives into EU legislation, so that progress can be monitored. However, it is essential that the Law remains in line with the Paris Agreement and its ambition cycle: providing long term guidance and predictability to countries, regions and cities as well as businesses. This means strong leadership from the EU and regular involvement of its citizens in ensuring a smooth transition to a low-carbon future.
“Regional governments of the Under2 Coalition strongly support raising the 2030 target and updating it to at least 55 percent of emissions reduction compared to 1990. We are in the Climate Decade and time really is of the essence. European members of the Under2 Coalition are therefore looking forward to engaging with the European Climate Pact over the upcoming consultation period. At the same time, we will support European regions in setting regional net-zero targets and tracking their progress.”
This week’s announcement follows the European Green Deal, which was presented in December. It is a key part of EU climate and environmental policy designed to ensure all countries and all sectors of the economy make a contribution to efforts that reduce dangerous emissions. In the proposal, the Commission said that it will publish its impact assessment on the EU’s 2030 climate target by September 2020. The Under2 Coalition calls on the European Commission to take these efforts a step further by introducing an increased 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target well in time for COP26.