EU parliament demands tougher climate targets

By: AFP      Published: 05:16 PM, 8 Oct, 2020
EU parliament demands tougher climate targets
EU parliament demands tougher climate targets

The European Parliament has called for the EU to step up its targets for cutting greenhouse emissions in response to climate change.

Lawmakers voted late Wednesday to press the bloc to slash emissions by at least 60 percent by 2030 -- a bigger cut than currently proposed by the European Commission, the EU executive. MEPs also demanded an interim target be set for 2040 to ensure the bloc meets its plan to be climate neutral by 2050.

The calls form part of parliament's negotiating platform for talks with member states to agree the final form of the EU climate law, which will be binding. Ambitious climate goals are backed by big EU powers including France and Germany, as well as many major businesses, but face resistance from eastern member states still dependent on coal for energy.

EU leaders will try to agree on a common position at a summit in Brussels next week, but given the divisions a decision is expected to be delayed until December. The commission vice-president in charge of climate work, Frans Timmermans, welcomed the vote on Twitter, saying it sent "a strong message about the need for ambition in tackling the climate crisis".

Green parties enjoyed success at elections to the European Parliament in 2019, giving them more influence than before. Evelyne Huytebroeck and Thomas Waitz, co-chairs of the European Green Party, hailed the vote as "a victory for the climate movement, the Greens and all the voters that voted for the climate in the last few years."

Highlighting the urgency of the issue, on Wednesday the EU's Earth Observation Programme said that last month was the hottest September on record around the world.