In a joint letter sent to the European Commission, nine advisory councils and committees on climate, the environment and sustainable development argue that an EU 2040 GHG emission target is a “useful and timely stepping stone to becoming a climate neutral continent in 2050”. In the letter, facilitated by the network, the European Environmental and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils Network (EEAC), these councils urge the Executive Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, Climate Action Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra, and Director-General Kurt Vandenberghe, to follow through with the implementation of the full Fit for 55-package and to take the advice of the European Advisory Board for Climate Change (ESABCC) into account in the proposal for an EU-wide 2040 target. The ESABCC published an extensive study in June that recommend a 90-95% reduction target for 2040.
Before the start of his mandate, Commissioner of Climate Action Wopke Hoekstra promised to fight for a target of at least -90% net GHG emissions by 2040. At the end of October, Mr. Hoekstra repeated his intention to bring this matter to the College of Commissioners. With their letter, the councils want to provide the Commissioner of Climate Action with the support of not only the European advisory board, but also the undersigning national and regional advisory councils of individual member states. These councils consist of elected experts advising their governments on national legislation. The EEAC, in turn, is a network that fosters cooperation between these different European scientific and multistakeholder councils on climate, environment and sustainable development.
With COP28 less than ten days away, the need for ambitious targets by the EU is a matter of global importance. Arnau Queralt Bassa, chair of the EEAC, comments: “we reiterate the point Mr. Hoekstra made in his parliamentary hearing about the target when he said that the EU has and must continue to lead by example, setting ambitious targets in line with the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and in line with best available science.” The best way to do this is to establish an ambitious NDC for 2035 and a 2040 target that is in line with the most recent science and the advice of the European advisory board.
Peter Møllgaard, chairman of the Danish Council on Climate Change: “An ambitious pathway to climate neutrality for the EU as a whole is absolutely necessary to meet the Paris agreement and will also help pave the way for a fair and feasible climate policy at member state level.”
Jan Willem Erisman, chair the Netherlands Scientific Climate Council (WKR): “The size of the climate challenge requires timely preparation and implementation of choices that must be made to phase out the old and build the new. An ambitious climate goal for 2040 ensures that we move faster now, so that later (2040-2050) we have time and space for the last difficult percent, to take stock and make adjustments as needed. An important consideration for the WKR is its justice, given historical emissions and available EU resources.”
Markku Ollikainen, chair of the Finnish Climate Change Panel: “The ESABCC’s recommendation to cut net emissions 90-95 % by 2040 compared to 1990 levels should be considered as the EU’s minimum fair share of effort in global climate action”.
Andrew Ferrone, chair of the Luxembourgish Climate Policy Observatory: “The Luxembourg Observatory of Climate Policy considers that the concept of Climate Resilient Development as highlighted by the IPCC should be the Guideline for the EU and its member states on their way to climate neutrality.”
The co-signatories of the letter
The undersigning councils are the Finnish Climate Change Panel, the Danish Council on Climate Change, the Netherlands Scientific Climate Council, the German Advisory Council on the Environment, the Luxembourgish Sustainable Development council, the Luxembourg Climate Policy Observatory, the Advisory council on Sustainable Development of Catalonia, the Committee of Experts on Climate Change of Catalonia and the Portuguese National Council of the Environment and Sustainable Development. The EEAC facilitated this collaboration.
For more information or interview requests, please contact Fee Kirsch, network coordinator of the EEAC, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel.: (+ 31) 611 83 15 94