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STATEMENT: European Leaders Fail to Adopt 2050 Climate Neutrality Goal or Stronger Short-Term Target

BRUSSELS (June 20, 2019) — During the European Council Meeting in Brussels (June 20-21, 2019), European leaders concluded they will work toward achieving climate neutrality but did not reach consensus on setting a 2050 deadline to do so. Additionally, some countries were advocating for a summit outcome to include a stronger EU climate target for 2030, but ultimately this language was not included. Currently the European Council Meeting is the last planned opportunity for the EU’s short- and long-term goals to be considered ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23.

Following is a statement from Helen Mountford, Vice President of Climate and Economics, World Resources Institute:

“The European Council meeting was an important and timely opportunity for leaders to heed the calls of youth striking for climate action and adopt a 2050 climate-neutrality goal. But they missed it. While a large majority of European countries were pushing hard for this ambitious call, a few countries held the entire bloc back. The summit’s conclusion offers a basis on which to transition to a zero-carbon economy, but it does not reflect the urgency of addressing the climate emergency at our doorsteps.

“In addition, it is deeply disappointing that European leaders failed to adopt a bolder short-term climate target. The road to a climate-neutral world requires strong, consistent action in the decade right ahead of us. This means committing to strengthen the EU's 2030 target under the Paris Agreement and putting in place more stringent policies that can ramp up innovation and drive investments in zero-carbon solutions.

“In the next couple of months, EU leaders should use every opportunity to come back together and agree to strengthen its climate targets. This is no time for Europe to step back from fighting the greatest threat to humanity.”

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