EU leaders out of touch with climate reality

Posted on 24 October 2014

EU fails to set ambitious emissions reduction targets
(GLAND, Switzerland, 24 October 2014) -  Europe’s new climate and energy targets for the period 2020–2030 show a leadership out of touch with climate reality, said WWF’s Global Climate and Energy initiative leader Samantha Smith.
“The reality is that climate change already threatens people and nature. Yet the scale of ambition we need to tackle climate change is missing from the emission reduction, renewable energy and energy efficiency targets announced today by the EU Council. We are still waiting for targets that will fight climate pollution and drive rapid, just divestment out of fossil fuels and into the renewable, efficient economy of the future,” she says.
“The world just experienced the warmest six months ever recorded. Severe heatwaves and flash floods are now hallmarks of European seasons; already developing countries are experiencing severe impacts of climate change. For both, the worst is yet to come.
“This climate reality and the latest climate science call for drastic action by governments – and the EU has failed its citizens and the citizens of the world by caving in to vested and political interests. We can only hope that European leaders will rise to the challenge in 2015, when they submit the EU’s targets for cutting climate pollution to the global negotiations for a climate agreement,” says Smith.
“But what makes the weak package even worse is that ambitious climate and energy targets would have massive benefits for EU citizens - less pollution, better health and fewer premature deaths, as well as new, more secure job opportunities and energy independence. The EU has missed a big opportunity to reclaim its global leadership position and set the pace to a new global climate deal in Paris in December 2015,” she says.
"European leaders are sacrificing our futures on the altar of politics, and the coming months will be crucial to avoid the worst implications of this decision," says WWF’s head of EU climate and energy policy Jason Anderson. “The EU will need to review its target, as it is asking other countries in the UN to do. Those Member States who see the benefits of climate action will try to fill the void with domestic policy, but action will be fractured, and an EU policy response will be necessary.”
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