European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker promised an EU budget with billions of euros per year for climate change mitigation, in a speech he delivered in Brussels last week alongside Swedish school strike leader Greta Thunberg.
“In the next financial period from 2021 to 2027, every fourth euro spent within the EU budget will go towards action to mitigate climate change,” he said. Reuters explains the EU budget is typically set at 1% of the continent’s economic output, for a total of €1 trillion over seven years.
“Mr. Trump and his friends believe that climate change is something that has just been invented and it is an ideological concept,” Juncker added, but “something dangerous is already under way.”
Reuters says Thunberg was in Brussels to join a seventh week of demonstrations, with more than 10,000 students marching across Belgium Thursday. “Unite behind the science, that is our demand,” Thunberg told a plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). “Talk to the scientists, listen to them.”
She added that the EU must double its current greenhouse gas reduction target of 40% from 1990 levels by 2030.
“This target is not sufficient to protect the future for children growing up today. If the EU is to make its fair contribution to stay within the carbon budget for the 2°C limit, then it needs a minimum of 80% reduction by 2030, and that includes aviation and shipping,” she told the plenary. “There is simply not enough time to wait for us to grow up and become the ones in charge.”
Juncker praised the student advocacy that Thunberg has been leading since December. “I am glad to see that young people are taking to the streets in Europe to raise visibility of the issue of climate change,” he said.