EU President Calls for Upper Emissions Relief Goal In Ultimate State Of The Union

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers his State of the Union speech at the European Parliament Strasbourg, France. (FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

</div> </div> <p>Addressing the European Parliament for his final ‘State of the European Union’ speech, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned of the coming calamity of climate change.</p> <p>In light of the heat wave and wild fires in Europe this summer, he urged the lawmakers to support an ambitious EU emissions reduction target of 45% for 2030, saying it is both “scientifically right and politically necessary.”</p> <p>This would be higher than the 40% reduction (from 1990 levels) agreed by all 28 national leaders in the European Union in 2014. But over the past year, 14 of the 28 countries have said new data and Europe’s alarming heat wave this summer mean the target should be raised to 45%. These countries include France, Luxembourg and The Netherlands.</p> <p>But after intense pressure from German industry, Chancellor Angela Merkel has <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/davekeating/2018/08/27/merkel-pushing-back-against-higher-eu-climate-change-target/#3c181f9432bd" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/davekeating/2018/08/27/merkel-pushing-back-against-higher-eu-climate-change-target/#3c181f9432bd">come out against the idea</a>, saying it is&nbsp;ill-advised “because many member states today do not comply with what they have already promised.”</p> <p> </p> <p>“We should first reach the goals we have already set. I don’t think that constantly setting new targets makes sense.”</p> <p>Juncker, whose five-year term as Commission President ends next year, said in his annual address to the European Parliament that the higher target is needed – putting him on a collision course with Merkel. “We as Europeans want to leave a cleaner planet for future generations,” he told the chamber. “The terrible events of this summer have brought home — not just to farmers — the importance of our efforts to safeguard the future of our coming generations.”</p> <p><strong>Climate Disappearing From The Agenda</strong></p> <p>However, though Juncker’s words might have sounded ambitious, the reality is that this state of the union contained far less new European action against climate change than speeches in the past. In fact, it didn’t contain anything new.</p>

<p>Juncker’s energy chief, Miguel Arias Ca&ntilde;ete, already <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/davekeating/2018/08/27/merkel-pushing-back-against-higher-eu-climate-change-target/#3c181f9432bd" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/davekeating/2018/08/27/merkel-pushing-back-against-higher-eu-climate-change-target/#3c181f9432bd">confirmed</a> last month that the Commission will put forward a 45% target proposal. He said that with new EU laws due to shortly take effect, the 45% target will be reached anyway.</p> <p>The new laws, more ambitious than what was envisioned in 2014, will require an increase in energy efficiency of 32.5% and a <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/davekeating/2017/11/30/eu-opts-for-more-flexible-renewable-energy-targets/#56b1bedd12f2" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/davekeating/2017/11/30/eu-opts-for-more-flexible-renewable-energy-targets/#56b1bedd12f2">32% share of renewable energy</a> by 2030.</p> <p>In effect, Juncker is proposing a target that’s going to happen whether the legislation is changed or not. And he was preaching to the choir – there is no doubt that the Parliament will support the 45% target (in fact, they want to see a 55% target).</p> <p>Juncker’s speech was more notable for what it didn’t contain.</p> <p>“On climate change, this speech lacked concrete new announcements,” says Wendel Trio, director of campaign group Climate Action Network Europe. “President Juncker has recognized that climate change is already wreaking havoc in Europe, but failed to acknowledge that to protect its citizens the EU needs to significantly scale up its climate action.</p> <p>“The new energy targets which translate into 45% emission cuts by 2030 are only the starting point for the real discussion on how to put the EU on a Paris-compatible pathway,” he adds. “It was disappointing that he has failed to outline the Commission’s plans for the new long-term climate strategy, which needs to include a clear commitment to reduce emissions to net zero well before 2050 and to keep temperature rise to 1.5&deg;C.”</p> <p>The Commission has been tightlipped about its plan for a long-term emissions reduction pathway to 2050, expected to be announced before the next UN climate summit in December, this year held in Poland. Stakeholders and European lawmakers, both at EU and national level, had hoped to see Juncker announce the strategy in his state of the union speech.</p> <p>Instead, Juncker used his speech to focus on the geopolitical threats facing the European Union from East and West – such as trade threats from America and military threats from Russia. It reflected just how much climate change is falling off the global agenda in the face of a deteriorating geopolitical and security situation.</p> <p>With tensions so high over dangers faced in the immediate moment, policymakers have had less time to think about a catastrophe that will be faced in 50 years’ time – even when the first effects of climate change are being felt today.</p>”>

Eu Fee President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers his State of the Union speech on the Eu Parliament Strasbourg, France. (FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Photographs)

Addressing the Eu Parliament for his ultimate ‘State of the Eu Union’ speech, EU Fee President Jean-Claude Juncker warned of the approaching calamity of local weather exchange.

In gentle of the warmth wave and wild fires in Europe this summer season, he advised the lawmakers to improve an formidable EU emissions relief goal of 45% for 2030, announcing it’s each “scientifically proper and politically essential.”

This might be upper than the 40% relief (from 1990 ranges) agreed through all 28 nationwide leaders within the Eu Union in 2014. However during the last yr, 14 of the 28 nations have mentioned new knowledge and Europe’s alarming warmth wave this summer season imply the objective will have to be raised to 45%. Those nations come with France, Luxembourg and The Netherlands.

However after intense drive from German trade, Chancellor Angela Merkel has pop out in opposition to the speculation, announcing it’s ill-advised “as a result of many member states nowadays don’t conform to what they have got already promised.”

“We will have to first succeed in the targets we have now already set. I don’t suppose that continuously atmosphere new objectives is sensible.”

Juncker, whose five-year time period as Fee President ends subsequent yr, mentioned in his annual cope with to the Eu Parliament that the upper goal is wanted – striking him on a collision direction with Merkel. “We as Europeans need to go away a cleaner planet for long term generations,” he advised the chamber. “The horrible occasions of this summer season have introduced house — now not simply to farmers — the significance of our efforts to safeguard the way forward for our coming generations.”

Local weather Disappearing From The Schedule

On the other hand, despite the fact that Juncker’s phrases may have sounded formidable, the truth is this state of the union contained some distance much less new Eu motion in opposition to local weather exchange than speeches up to now. In reality, it didn’t include the rest new.

Juncker’s power leader, Miguel Arias Cañete, already showed closing month that the Fee will put ahead a 45% goal proposal. He mentioned that with new EU regulations because of in a while take impact, the 45% goal can be reached anyway.

The brand new regulations, extra formidable than what used to be envisioned in 2014, would require an build up in power potency of 32.five% and a 32% percentage of renewable power through 2030.

In impact, Juncker is proposing a goal that’s going to occur whether or not the regulation is modified or now not. And he used to be preaching to the choir – there’s no doubt that the Parliament will improve the 45% goal (in truth, they need to see a 55% goal).

Juncker’s speech used to be extra notable for what it didn’t include.

“On local weather exchange, this speech lacked concrete new bulletins,” says Wendel Trio, director of marketing campaign crew Local weather Motion Community Europe. “President Juncker has identified that local weather exchange is already wreaking havoc in Europe, however failed to recognize that to offer protection to its electorate the EU wishes to seriously scale up its local weather motion.

“The brand new power objectives which translate into 45% emission cuts through 2030 are best the place to begin for the true dialogue on find out how to put the EU on a Paris-compatible pathway,” he provides. “It used to be disappointing that he has failed to stipulate the Fee’s plans for the brand new long-term local weather technique, which wishes to incorporate a transparent dedication to cut back emissions to internet 0 neatly earlier than 2050 and to stay temperature upward push to at least one.five°C.”

The Fee has been tightlipped about its plan for a long-term emissions relief pathway to 2050, anticipated to be introduced earlier than the following UN local weather summit in December, this yr held in Poland. Stakeholders and Eu lawmakers, each at EU and nationwide degree, had was hoping to look Juncker announce the method in his state of the union speech.

As a substitute, Juncker used his speech to concentrate on the geopolitical threats dealing with the Eu Union from East and West – reminiscent of industry threats from The united states and armed forces threats from Russia. It mirrored simply how a lot local weather exchange is falling off the worldwide time table within the face of a deteriorating geopolitical and safety state of affairs.

With tensions so top over risks confronted within the instant second, policymakers have had much less time to consider a disaster that can be confronted in 50 years’ time – even if the primary results of local weather exchange are being felt nowadays.

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