Green deal ‘must put out the fire’ – NGOs respond to EEA report

As the European Commission finalises its much-anticipated Green Deal, the EU’s own environment agency has decried economic growth as incompatible with tackling the environmental and climate emergency.

Widely viewed as the EU’s response to people’s demands for much more action to address the climate emergency, nature loss, and pollution in a fair way, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is set to announce the details of her flagship Green Deal next week.

But today a new European Environment Agency report reveals the EU is only on track to meet six out of 35 environmental and climate targets, and calls for deep changes to how we produce and consume energy and goods, and to our transport, housing and food systems.

Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Director said: “Europe’s environment is at a tipping point. We have a narrow window of opportunity in the next decade to scale up measures to protect nature, lessen the impacts of climate change & radically reduce consumption of natural resources.”

The EU is currently expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by only 30% by 2030 – yet the agreed target is 40%. Only 23 % of species and 16% of habitats are assessed as sufficiently protected.

Writing in Euractiv today, the G10 group of environmental groups warn that the Green Deal must “turn the tide” and herald in a truly fair and green transition. Details of the Green Deal are expected to be published on Wednesday 11 December.

EEB Secretary General Jeremy Wates said: “With Greta Thunberg warning that “our house is on fire”, the need for new levels of ambition in addressing the existential problems of our time could not be greater. The European Green Deal provides the opportunity to rise to that challenge and will be an early test for the Von der Leyen Commission. It must put out the fire.”

The European Environmental Bureau has put forward a detailed report on priorities and opportunities for the European Green Deal showing what it needs to deliver on.

The European elections in May saw a spike in votes for candidates with green agendas and the wave of mammoth youth-led climate protests around the world continues.

A leak of the European Green Deal last week was also met with criticism for pushing back an increase of the EU’s 2030 emissions reduction target until after October 2020.

Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said: “The Commission’s reluctance to propose a new, much higher target early next year shows its failure to recognise the urgency of the climate crisis. Delaying this decision can put the EU in the back seat of global climate negotiations and undermine its role in shaping the discussions on the increase of the targets next year.