Members of the European Parliament voted last week on a non-binding resolution endorsing a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target for 2050 and increasing the European Union’s 2030 target.
Amidst a wide-ranging text adopted by 369 votes to 116 (and 40 abstentions), Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) expressed their support for only two of eight strategic pathways “for the economic, technological and social transformation needed for the Union to comply with the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement” — the only two pathways which, according to the MEPs, “would enable the Union to reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 at the latest.”
The text adopted states that achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 “requires swift action and considerable efforts at local, regional, national, and EU level, also involving all non-public actors.”
If the European Union is to achieve this target of “net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 at the latest” then, according to the adopted text, the 2030 ambition level must be raised “and aligned with net-zero 2050 scenarios.” Specifically, MEPs supports an update to the European Union’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) — the mechanism embodying “efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change” (according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) — to an economy-wide target of 55% domestic greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2030 (compared with 1990 levels).
“With people turning out in record numbers for the climate, MEPs have shown they take citizens’ concerns seriously, and want to step up climate action,” said Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF European Policy Office. “Their support for net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 2050 latest, and higher cuts by 2030, is an encouraging sign to EU Member States, who are currently considering the EU’s long-term climate plans and preparing their national climate and energy plans.”
The MEPs also welcomed demonstrations and student strikes across the EU, welcoming “the calls from these activists for greater ambition and swift action in order not to overshoot the 1.5°C climate limit.”