Rural village houses in floodwater. Road with the river overflown with the residents in their homes. Floods and flooding the streets. Natural disaster.
EU governments must respond to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report with appropriately ambitious conclusions at the Environment Council meeting in Luxembourg today.
The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) calls on governments to listen to IPCC scientists’ warnings about the need for unprecedented action to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.
The EEB is Europe’s largest network of environmental organisations with around 140 members in over 30 countries.
Roland Joebstl, EEB Senior Policy Officer for Climate and Energy said:
The science is unequivocally clear, European leaders have failed to act responsibly in the last 10 years, we don’t have another 10, 5, 2 or even 1 year. Europe must leave coal, oil and gas in the ground and fully embrace energy efficiency, renewables and a circular economy without further delay. Anything less than a cast-iron commitment to 1.5 degrees will be too little, too late.
Environment ministers meeting tomorrow to agree the EU’s position ahead of the crunch COP24 climate talks must respond to IPCC report with appropriate urgency. The world cannot afford for Europe to hide behind outdated targets and for governments to try to ‘get away’ with just 80% cuts by 2050. We must reach net zero emissions as soon as possible, waiting until 2050 will have devastating repercussions.
The IPPC report lays out in details the significant additional damage that would be caused by 2 degrees of global warming. The impact is worse than was thought.
The report also shows that without additional action world temperatures are set to rise by 3 degrees or more and that insufficient action since the Paris agreement was signed has meant valuable time has been lost.
However, the report is optimistic that it is not too late to meet the 1.5 degree target, if significant action is undertaken. Such action is also likely to help the world to meet key sustainable development objectives and reduce other harmful side-effects of extracting and burning fossil fuels, including harmful air pollution.
According to the European Environment Agency (EEA) the annual cost of climate change damages in Europe has already reached €13.3 billion. Delays and current inaction for missing 1.5 degree risk a 3- to 10-fold increase of costs in the future (JRC PESETA I and II studies).
People in Europe, and around the world, want climate action based on energy efficiency, renewables and zero waste. The action required would not just help the world to meet the 1.5 degree target, but could increase the quality of life for billions of people. History will judge the climate decisions our leaders are currently making.