“Profound lifestyle changes” will be required to limit average global warming to 1.5°C, according to a leaked European Parliament document prepared for a foreign ministers’ meeting earlier this week.
Meeting the target “is by no means an easy undertaking,” and “will require exploring possibilities for realizing ‘negative’ emissions as well as profound lifestyle changes of current generations,” the document states.
But the EU is poised to postpone any decisions in that direction until the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its “stock-take” of national carbon reduction plans in 2018. That’s when the foreign ministers’ report foresees review of the EU’s commitment to cut emissions 40% from 1990 levels by 2030.
“There is no requirement that the EU update its 2030 headline target as a result of this process in 2020, but the time frame presents the EU with an opportunity to do so,” the report states, adding that 2020 will be “the only significant political moment before 2030 to leverage more ambition from other major economies like China and India,” as well as the United States and Brazil.
Environmental groups called on the EU to move more swiftly to embrace the 1.5°C long-term limit. “The EU has to redo its homework and set out a pathway to meet stricter energy efficiency and renewables targets,” said Bram Claeys, climate policy advisor at Greenpeace EU. “We can’t have confidence in a plan that plays fast and loose with global warming and fails to accelerate Europe’s shift to 100% renewable energy.”
“Like all other countries, the EU needs to ensure its policies are coherent with what was agreed in Paris, and needs to substantially increase its targets for 2020, 2030, and 2050,” agreed Climate Action Network-Europe Director Wendel Trio. “This discussion needs to take place now, and not be postponed for another three to five years as the European commission is proposing.”