Europe playing risky game with climate change targets

Published: 6th March 2015

Today EU Environment Ministers agreed the official EU emissions reductions pledge for the United Nations climate talks in Paris at the end of the year. Ministers backed the “at least 40%” emission reduction target by 2030 adopted by EU leaders in October, and failed to provide clarity on whether loopholes would water down their offer. 

In reaction to today’s announcement, Lies Craeynest, Oxfam’s EU climate expert, said:

“Worryingly, today’s decision sows doubt over whether loopholes will be allowed to undermine the EU’s emission reduction offer for 2030. Such a tactic would lower the bar for other major polluters ahead of global talks later this year.

“When meeting later this month, EU leaders should commit to boosting Europe’s climate ambition in the run up to Paris, and guarantee that already insufficient targets will not be watered down. Else they risk condemning further millions of people across the world to even more climate disasters, hunger and destitution, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable who have done nothing to cause today’s climate chaos.”

Notes to editors

  • Read Oxfam’s reaction to last week’s European Commission’s Communication on the Road to Paris, which Ministers discussed today.
  • Oxfam estimates that 25 million more children will suffer from malnutrition as a result of climate change if no action is taken. This is the same amount as all under-fives in Canada and the US combined (source).
  • Money flows from developed to developing countries are key to the success of a global climate change deal in Paris.
    • With regards to the overall commitment to mobilize $100bn yearly by 2020 for climate action in developing countries, made in 2009 in Copenhagen, the EU and additional developed countries should spell out how they will scale up finance towards that goal. For the post 2020 period, they should ensure that the Paris Protocol includes key elements on climate finance, including an adaptation goal with a collective public finance target, a commitment to 5-yearly cycles of commitments towards global targets for mitigation and adaptation finance, and commitments towards these targets from all countries capable to contribute.
    • Oxfam recognized the capitalization of the UN-backed Green Climate Fund in November last year as an important step forward. Out of the total contributions of just over USD$10bn, a large proportion came from EU Member States. The Fund will make a key contribution to the global fight against climate change by providing finance for mitigation and adaptation actions.

Contact information

Angela Corbalan on + 32 (0) 473 56 22 60 or

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