Antoinette Tyller (European Views) | The EU is calling upon all major economies to increase efforts to combat climate change. The call came in a blog published today by High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell.
The last weeks have seen a series of extreme weather events including severe flooding in Germany and Belgium, and wildfires in Greece, Turkey and Sicily where temperatures yesterday reached 48.8C which some scientists believe to be the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe. Earlier this week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report was published highlighting the urgent need to cut greenhouse gas emissions steeply. UN Secretary General António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres called the report ‘a code red for humanity.’
Writing in a blog Mr. Borrell stated that ‘with its major geopolitical implications, climate change is the single, most threatening security issue ever in human history and that it is essential that all countries strengthen their commitments and increase their efforts before the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next November.’
He referenced the EU’s adoption of the new Climate Law last year which makes climate neutrality by mid-century a legally binding commitment and raises the EU’s greenhouse gas emission reduction target from 40% to at least 55% in 2030, compared to 1990.
The challenge of COP26 according to Mr. Borrell is to make sure that all major economies take ambitious enough, measurable and verifiable 2030 targets and climate neutrality commitments. He referred to the return of the US to the Paris Agreement and a number of major economies committing to a net zero emission pathways but said that setting the target is the easy part with implementation the real challenge.
Mr. Borrell wrote, ‘The EU is now also walking the walk with the ‘Fit for 55’ package, a set of thirteen legislative proposals to deliver the emission cuts aimed for, which the European Commission put forward last July. Given that we represent only 8 % of global emissions, the EU wishes to assume leadership by example, with policy proposals able to inspire others to become equally ambitious and undertake similar structural economic transformation as embodied in our green deal.’
He called climate change, ‘the most decisive issue of our time’ and said, ‘A just transition to a decarbonised world is also key to limit geopolitical tensions between countries…’