29 Nov 2018, 16:24
Benjamin Wehrmann

NGOs and industry groups welcome European Commission’s 2050 CO2-neutrality target

WWF / Greenpeace / DUH / BNE / VCI / BDI

The European Commission’s plan to make the EU CO2-neutral by 2050 has been largely appreciated by environmental NGOs as well as by several industry groups in Germany.
WWF called the EU’s long-term strategy “promising.” As the first group of industrialised countries, the EU has found an answer to the latest findings on climate challenges and increased its mid-century reduction target from somewhere between 80 and 95 percent with respect to 1990 levels to complete carbon neutrality, it said. “This is a big step ahead,” said WWF’s Michael Schäfer. Greenpeace said the Commission’s proposal comes “with a significant delay” and can only be put into action if all countries, and especially Germany, quickly transform their systems towards renewable energy. “Angela Merkel’s government hasn’t set any climate goals in line with the Paris Agreement. Because of this political faintheartedness, the coal commission has to work longer and the environment minister has to go to the world climate conference [COP24] in Poland empty-handed.”
Environmental Action Germany (DUH) said that in order to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the EU would have to cut net emissions to zero by 2040 already, and criticised the lack of concrete steps until 2030. “The strategy as it stands is not enough to fulfil the Paris Agreement’s climate targets,” DUH’ s Sascha Müller-Kraenner said.
The Association of Energy Market Innovators (BNE), a lobby group of grid-independent energy suppliers, said the tools needed for a carbon-neutral economy already exist and just had to be expanded. “That’s why we need a long-term CO2 price signal that includes all sectors,” said BNE head Robert Busch.
Chemical industry lobby group VCI said it welcomes the European Commission’s decision to present a strategy for its 2050 climate target. “The EU sets the guidelines of European climate policy,” said VCI head Utz Tillmann, adding that “we should also focus on a common EU goal and not on subordinate goals for individual member states.” Tillmann said there are many different ways leading to a carbon-neutral future and that industry representatives must be closely involved in sketching out the right one.
The Federation of German Industries (BDI) said the EU’s climate policy could only succeed “if we find solutions that are convincing from an economic perspective and that can be adopted internationally.” BDI head Holger Lösch said the proposal was “a necessary signal” ahead of the COP24 meeting in Poland and called for “rethinking European support mechanisms and a more flexible EU assistance framework.” 

Find the European Commission’s press release in English here.

See the CLEW interview with env min state secretary Flasbarth New business mindset bolsters Paris Agreement and the article Germany headed for largest emission drop since 2009 recession for more information. 

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