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In her first State of the Union speech, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen today proposed upping the EU’s 2030 target for GHG emission reductions from the current -40% (compared to 1990) to -55%, based on a new impact assessment. This follows last week’s ENVI Committee endorsement of a -60% target.

The proposal is based on the shared understanding that the EU’s current 2030 goal is inadequate to reach the bloc’s commitments under the landmark Paris Climate Agreement with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Ever since this Treaty was adopted, the world has witnessed accelerated global warming and more extreme weather events, but also a growing global movement of people calling for more transformative measures and urgent action.  The science is clear that cuts of at least -65% for the EU are needed.

Anne Stauffer, Director for Strategy and Campaigns at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) comments:

“With today’s proposal EU Commission President von der Leyen doesn’t walk her talk on a healthy planet for healthy people. Upping the EU’s climate goal to -55% is not enough to turn the tide on global heating in the next decade, and it risks being weakened further in the political negotiations process, especially with EU member states leaders. 

Climate change already affects the health of people across Europe, and impacts from heatwaves, droughts, floodings or new infectious diseases are set to rise. Europe’s citizens and the science tell us that it is now or never to get rid of the fossil fuel addiction fast, and for that a more ambitious goal is needed.  

Decisive climate action is disease prevention at its best. This proposal is closer to adding another plaster, when the EU should really deliver the cure.”