Major EU Businesses Demand Tougher Climate Change Targets

Major EU Businesses Demand Tougher Climate Change Targets

Some of Europe’s biggest businesses and investors representing more than €21 trillion in assets have joined forces to pressure the EU to speed up the move to a zero-carbon economy.

Together with local authorities and environmental groups they are calling on the EU to push harder to meet the Paris Agreement on climate change objective that global warming is kept well below 2°C.

In a letter to leaders of the EU this month, the Coalition for Higher Ambition (CHA) calls for deeper cuts in emissions than already planned by ‘considerably increasing the target for reducing carbon emissions by 2030 and cutting emissions to net zero by 2050 at the latest.’

The coalition includes members of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, an alliance of European businesses working towards a low carbon economy, the Climate Group, a network of businesses and governments with the same objective and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change. They have been joined by environmental groups, The Climate Alliance of 1700 local and regional authorities and other civil society organisations.

Wendel Trio, Director of environmental group Climate Action Network Europe, said: “Together we believe that the full implementation of the Paris Agreement means much deeper emission cuts than currently planned. Europe must embark on a pathway that delivers on the 1.5°C objective of the Paris Agreement,”

The call from such a powerful and influential group comes as the EU is in the middle of discussing new laws setting out Europe’s energy and climate policies up to 2030. These include new targets on greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and renewables.

A public consultation is also due to launch in July on the EU’s planned progress to a low carbon Europe by 2050. But any step change towards lower carbon emissions is likely to encounter some turbulence on its journey towards becoming a reality.

France, the Netherlands, and Sweden are among countries who have indicated support for the 2030 objectives, but others are against it on cost grounds. These include the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.

Germany, which has been accused of sitting on the fence thus far, has now rejected calls for renewable energy targets to rise as high as 35 per cent from the current 27 per cent, claiming they are “unachievable” by 2030.

The CHA disagrees, claiming that businesses are leading the way in finding new ways to make zero carbon a reality.

But Eliot Whittington, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, says they need clear support and leadership from policy makers to achieve the goal.

Peter Damgaard Jensen, CEO of Danish pension fund PKA, said there could be big gains for European society, not just in terms of a cleaner environment but also with new jobs and billions of euros in economic benefits.

PKA chairs the IIGCC, a collaborative forum with over €21 trillion in assets under management, including nine of Europe’s ten biggest pension funds.

(Banner image: Flickr

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