Stepping up Europe's Climate Ambition (Communication)

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EESC opinion: Stepping up Europe's Climate Ambition (Communication)

Key points

  • The EESC warmly welcomes the Commission Communication Stepping up Europe's 2030 climate ambition – Investing in a climate-neutral future for the benefit of our people. The Commission's choice to increase the greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2030 to 55% is largely in line with the Committee's earlier opinion on the European Climate Law.
  • Working with net zero from the intermediate targets is only possible on the condition that the integrity of the system, including the precise calculation of emissions and absorption of carbon, is guaranteed.
  • The EESC believes it is very important that citizens and social partners should be able to know how the emission target goals can be achieved and what this means for their work and life. This is essential for support for all measures to be taken. Therefore measures should be taken to guarantee that the risks and opportunities be shared equally to ensure certainty and stability.
  • The Committee agrees with the Commission that post-COVID-19 recovery spending must combine with ambitious climate action to avoid wasted money and stranded assets, leading to additional resource needs later on. It must be ensured that these investments are actually used in the spirit of a sustainable climate policy that puts citizens at the centre.
  • The Commission intends to come forward with the necessary detailed legislative proposals by June 2021. The EESC invites the co-legislators not to exceed this timeframe and to complete the legislative process by December 2021, because otherwise the timeframe to achieve the 2030 target will be too tight.
  • The EESC recommends that the Commission give priority to the update of European legislation on transition to renewable fuels.
  • The EESC suggests that new climate targets for agriculture in the Next Generation EU recovery fund must be reflected in the delegated act of the taxonomy regulation to ensure a scalable transition. As suggested now, the delegated act provides transitional tools only for niche production. Only a holistic transition to climate-friendly agriculture will ensure a sustainable food sector in the future. The food chain needs to scale up sustainable investment and support to boost the transition.
  • The EESC calls for a dedicated EU bioeconomy programme that facilitates investment and establishes community and farm-based supply chains.
  • The EESC underlines the conclusion in the Impact Assessment that achieving a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 would not only put the EU firmly on track to achieve climate neutrality, but would also make EU business and industry global trailblazers. In doing so, the EU must ensure that its trade policy and its trade agreements are consistent with its climate ambition. We do also recommend that the Commission pay special attention to the possible consequences for low-income third-country citizens.
  • The EESC strongly endorses the Commission's statement that citizens are "crucial partners in the fight against climate change", because we believe that active participation of "all parts of society" is a necessary condition for climate policy to be successful within the EU. That is why we also reiterate our proposal to set up a European Climate Pact Stakeholder Platform.
  • The EESC also calls on the Member states to work on the introduction of common criteria and common indicators at European level as a first step towards better measuring energy poverty, following Commission's Recommendation of 14.10.2020 on energy poverty [C(2020) 9600 final].
  • The EESC congratulates the Commission, which rightly calls for the necessity for the transition of our economy to be accompanied by investment in retraining and further training and permanent education of many professional groups. Furthermore, measures must be taken to ensure that new employment opportunities trigger the growth of jobs with decent wages and good working conditions.