Making the case for higher climate ambition

8 October 2020

“This year will be a critical year to ensure that the world can collectively achieve the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as agreed under the Paris Agreement.” So reads a statement from the Coalition for Higher Ambition on the EU’s 2030 Climate Target, an alliance of European cities and networks, local and regional authorities, business associations, investor groups and civil society organisations.

“For years, science has been clear and alarming: current international commitments are vastly insufficient to achieve the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement and might only limit temperature rise to 3°C or more by the end of the century,” explains the statement, which is addressed to EU and national leaders.

The authors call on the EU to “lead by example and substantially enhance commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 before the end of the year.”

This should come in the form of a commitment to reduce the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 on 1990 levels. Otherwise, the coalition surmises we face an “existential threat to our global ecosystem and the livelihoods of billions of mostly poor and vulnerable people, with expected welfare losses in the EU of at least 175 billion EUR per year.”

The signatories point out that “determined and ambitious climate action across all sectors of the economy will not only avert the most dire future costs of climate change impacts, but also provides a unique societal and economic opportunity to achieve a socially just transition for all European regions, towards an economy that is healthier, more sustainable and prosperous.”

However, achieving these goals will not be easy, and the statement makes clear that “sufficient financial means” able to target the most vulnerable sectors and regions will be necessary.

When it comes to the post-COVID financial and societal recovery the coalition states that, “recovery policies that accelerate the transition to low carbon economies, due to their high potential to both stimulate the economy and reduce climate impacts” should be the priority.

Read the full letter here