Call for EU to commit to stronger climate ambition ahead of EU Council meeting

Bonn, 19 June 2019: The EU can demonstrate genuine climate leadership by announcing at the European Council meetings tomorrow that they will enhance their 2030 targets and mobilize support for developing countries to implement climate plans to keep warming below 1.5°C.

EU countries must clearly state that they will heed the calls for concrete climate action by youth on the streets and an electorate, which brought green parties to power, by declaring that they will go to the UN Secretary General Climate Action Summit in September with plans not speeches.

The EU is also expected to agree tomorrow to the long-term target of net zero-emissions by 2050. The time is ripe for such a decision now that people’s mobilizations and calls for action placed climate on top of the political agenda.


Fernanda Viana de Carvalho, Policy Manager, Climate & energy, WWF, Brazil, said:

“We know we face a big challenge and the 1.5°C report launched by the IPCC last year put it in very stark terms that we have until 2030 to halve emissions if we want to stay below 1.5°C which is our guiding star. So we look at 1.5C and this what everybody should think about when we talk about climate ambition.”

“It’s not only a climate urgency but a climate emergency that we are calling for, the youth is calling for. Some countries already declared it so it is a time when we need countries to put out plans not speeches sand that’s what we expect from countries in the UNSG summit, which is one of the big moments leading to 2020.”

 “2020 is a key year … it is very important for countries to come up with plans to update and enhance their NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions.)”

“We heard in march this year that about 10 African countries will enhance their NDCs so If Africa can do it so must the biggest emitters and we have high hopes for those.”

“We also heard from the UNSG staff that there are 80 countries that will enhance their NDCs and this is very key if we want to keep the Paris spirit alive and if we stand a chance to stay below 1.5C global warming… it’s not only a environmental questions, it speaks directly to development and poverty.”

“When we talk about NDC enhancement, it’s not only about mitigation targets, we are also thinking about impacts, adaptation and resilience. We’re most importantly thinking of support. Countries need financial support to enhance their NDCs, developing countries of the world.”

Ulriikka Aarnio, International Climate Policy Coordinator, CAN Europe said:

 “Tomorrow the European heads of states are meeting in Brussels at the European Council to discuss the future of the EU’s climate policies. Feeling the pressure from the youth and people on the streets, they are getting closer to an agreement to increase the EU’s long-term target and they’re also looking at the EU’s 2030 target and how to revise that.”

“Climate change and in particular how countries are responding to the climate crisis is very high on the European agenda and it’s been demonstrated over the winter and spring with hundreds of people on the streets especially the youth. This made climate change a key topic in the European elections. this resulted in parties across the political spectrum committed to stronger climate action. Green victories in many countries gave the push to EU leaders to really think that now is the time to act.”

“What is getting more and more likely now is that tomorrow the EU will be able to agree on the net zero target long-term target for 2050. This decision seems now very right to be taken.

In the last 10 days the support for net zero has been growing. In the last few days four new countries came in support for this. It is very remarkable that 3 of them – Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria – have been usually more reluctant to increase EU’s ambition and are now coming forward and supporting it.”

“What we expect from the EU is first to agree on the net-zero by 2050 but then at minimum commit to revising the 2030 NDC in the months to come. Near term ambition is what the world is waiting for, what the Secretary General of the UN is waiting for. Near term ambition is the scientific non-negotiable imperative. But this is also what the Europeans want.”

Jennifer Tollmann, Policy Advisor, E3G, said:

“On behalf of CAN International, I would like to welcome the joint bid by the UK and Italy to host COP26. We see this agreement as a milestone in European diplomacy and cooperation also post Brexit and we call on New York to confirm a Presidency as soon as possible.”

“2020 internationally is the litmus year for the Paris Agreement and this is certainly what the Presidency will have to live up to. As it is most likely to be a European COP, they would have to respond to the clear mandate given by European citizens both on the streets and in the European elections to increase ambition and work with partners internationally to do so.”

“When looking at 2020, the priorities are clearly on near-term action that needs to be the response to the climate crisis and the IPCC 1.5°C evaluations around NDC enhancement will be front and center.”

“We do also expect the Presidency to deliver a package around long-term strategies but also progress on adaptation, resilience and the support necessary for those most vulnerable to actually implement ambition and respond to the impacts they are feeling.”

“We also expect the UK to support Chile and the UNSG Presidency in the run up to both the UNSG Summit and COP25 but also starting to plan around how they can facilitate major economy follow-up during their joint G7/G20 presidencies in 2021. We see this as a pathway to implementation and to action.”

Written by Hala Kilani, Senior Communications Coordinator, CAN

For follow up in Bonn, contact:

Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Officer, CAN / whatsapp +918826107830

About CAN

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1100 NGOs in more than 120 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More information on