12 Jun 2019, 13:33
Freja Eriksen

EU commissioner calls on European leaders to embrace 2050 climate-neutrality goal

Handelsblatt / Guardian

A “climate-neutral, prosperous and equitable” European economy is possible by 2050, said EU commissioner for climate action and energy Miguel Arias Cañete in an opinion piece in the Handelsblatt, calling on European leaders to embrace climate-neutrality as the Union’s official goal at a summit in June. Referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent comments at the Petersberg Dialogue in Berlin that Germany would aim to become climate-neutral by 2050, Cañete wrote: “I hope that this goal will also be reflected in an agreement between the heads of state and government of the EU when they meet at the end of June at the European Council.” Cañete stressed the need for the European Union to modernise its economy and invest in competitive technologies while ensuring support for affected sectors and citizens, pointing to the Commission’s own strategy to achieve this goal. The Union should rely less on energy imports and create more local, higher quality jobs, according to a Commission analysis showing that climate neutrality by 2050 is possible.
On 11 June, the United Kingdom’s government announced its intention to become the first major economy to write a net-zero emissions target for 2050 into law, reports the Guardian. Until now, the UK has aimed to reduce emissions by 80 percent by mid-century.

At the 10th Petersberg Climate Dialogue, Chancellor Merkel announced that her new climate cabinet would debate how Germany could reach climate neutrality by mid-century instead of the country’s current aim of 80 to 95 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction compared to 1990. If the ministers find a “sound” way to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Germany would be able to join several other European countries, including France and Sweden, in drafting an ambitious long-term EU climate strategy, said Merkel. France and other EU members have long been pushing Germany to sign on to net-zero emissions by mid-century.

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