The below is an open letter from Global Citizen asking for European leaders to take bold climate action immediately. Global Citizen is sharing this open letter with the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, and Commissioner for Climate Action Wopke Hoekstra. When the European Commission publishes its proposal for a new EU climate target for 2040 on 6 February 2024, decision makers must respond to calls from civil society for an ambitious target that will keep us in line with 1.5 degrees and deliver a swift transition away from all fossil fuels.
Brussels, 25 January 2024
Subject: Call for Ambitious and Inclusive 2040 Climate Targets
Dear European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen,
Dear European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič,
Dear Commissioner for Climate Action Wopke Hoekstra,
I am writing to call on the European Commission to support the adoption of ambitious and inclusive 2040 climate targets. This plan represents the last opportunity for the European Commission to leave a lasting legacy in the fight against the climate crisis.
Specifically, this must include the support of:
- The adoption of a legally-binding target to reduce gross emissions ideally to net zero, but at least to a 95% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 as recommended by the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change and to bring the EU as closely in alignment as possible with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
- Separate targets for emissions reductions, permanent carbon removals, and sequestration in the land sector, as advocated by more than 100 academics, businesses, civil society organizations, and research institutions, in an open letter sent to the European Commission in January 2024.
- Include clear fossil fuel end dates for coal, oil and gas usage per sector, including a zero-emissions power system by 2037, in line with the EU’s emission reduction targets. Coal should be phased out no later than 2030, fossil gas no later than 2035 and oil at the latest by 2040.
- Prioritise a ‘reduction-first’ approach, and where carbon removals and offsetting are used, these should receive independent third-party verification.
- Ensure transparency over the implementation of the EU’s targets and financial commitments, at the EU and Member State level.
It is vital that the Commission demonstrates leadership in the global fight against the climate crisis and we trust that you will consider these recommendations seriously and work towards a sustainable and resilient future for the generations to come.