Achieving climate neutrality will depend heavily on the EU's capacity to engage with citizens

Tackling climate and environmental challenges has become a top EU priority. From climate change to climate emergency, the EU needs to make substantial changes to foster a well-being economy.

In order to address these challenges and bring about these changes, the European Commission adopted the European Green Deal and opened a consultation to gather views on ways to engage the public in a European Climate Pact (ECP).

The EESC was, therefore, called upon to provide guidance on how to build on existing structures like citizens' dialogues and assemblies to achieve the desired societal engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals, as the success of all climate action measures will depend on it.

"In implementing the Climate Pact, the Commission has an important opportunity and obligation to model an innovative approach which will mirror, support and inspire action already happening in civil society, within communities, cities and regions," emphasised Dimitris Dimitriadis, rapporteur of the ECP opinion.

The Commission is, moreover, proposing to put a new target for 2030 into EU law through the recently proposed European Climate Law (ECL), which sets a legally binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

"There can be no more important time for the combined forces of civil society and government to commit to the implementation of the Climate Law as we move into post-COVID recovery. The pandemic has helped us all realise that with effort we really can do things very differently," stressed Jan Dirx, rapporteur of the ECL opinion. (mr)