EU Commission fails to put Paris climate agreement into action

The European Commission risks betraying the Paris climate agreement by suggesting that Europe is doing enough to tackle runaway climate change, says Oxfam. The Commission today reported on the impacts of the Paris agreement on EU climate policy. With climate change already worsening food crises across the world, the EU has no excuse to delay tougher action on climate change.

Oxfam EU Policy Advisor on Climate Change and Global Food Security, Lies Craeynest, said:

“Before the Paris climate talks, EU leaders had committed to cut the Union’s carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030. This is not enough to keep global warming to only 1.5 degrees. Without a clear commitment to revise the 2030 target, the Commission is ignoring the devastating effects that climate change is already causing throughout the world.

“At least 60 million people are certain now to face worsening hunger and poverty throughout 2016 because of drought and crop failures fuelled by a super El Niño, a weather phenomenon that has been super-charged this year by climate change.

“People living in the worst-affected regions are often poor and therefore especially vulnerable to such weather shocks. The EU needs to make a clear and strong revision to its 2030 target. We fear that other countries could now follow the EU and stick to their existing modest targets, too.

“The EU needs its laws to help curb climate change faster, and to support developing countries financially so they can adapt to its inevitable consequences. Today’s proposal continues to rely on already-stretched aid budgets rather than looking at new sources of finance for instance from the EU emissions trading scheme.”

Notes to editors: 
  • EU governments will meet in Brussels for an Environment Council on Friday. Member states will have to review the Commission communication and give further guidance on the 2030 Climate and Energy Package.
  • The Paris climate deal commits all countries to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. It also commits the signing parties to ensure a balance between emissions and sinks (known as a ‘net-zero’ goal) in the second half of the century.
  • The Paris climate deal commits developed countries to continue taking the lead in mobilising climate finance, ‘noting the significant role of public funds’. Developed countries have agreed to continue their annual USD 100 billion commitment for climate finance through to 2025. The agreement also stresses that there should be greater balance between support for mitigation and adaptation, as current climate finance generally flows towards more profitable climate mitigation activities.
  • With current commitments for emissions cuts, the world is likely to suffer a global warming of 3°C. Already now, finance needs for developing countries are spiralling. Ahead of COP21 in Paris, Oxfam released new figures showing that under current commitments developing countries are set to face an additional USD 270 billion per year in adaptation costs by 2050, taking the total to USD 790 billion. If the EU decides to stick to current 2030 targets, this scenario becomes very likely.
Contact information: 

Florian Oel, florian.oel@oxfaminternational.org, t +32 2 234 11 15, m +32 473 56 22 60

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