Like many key EU institutions and individuals, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) underlines that climate action and the economic reconstruction and recovery from the coronavirus crisis can and must go hand in hand. This can be done by restoring the European economy through the promotion of an effective and fully sustainable package of public and private investments. The EESC thus regards the proposal for a European Climate Law as one of the instruments to contribute to this desired and necessary rebuilding of the European economy.
The EESC supports the approach of a transition to climate neutrality at EU level overall instead of in every Member State individually. This approach has the advantage that an optimal distribution of efforts can be accomplished EU-wide, taking into account relevant differences among Member States. The EESC is also convinced that the greatest support for climate policy will be established if the overall aim is to achieve the highest greenhouse gas emissions reduction at the lowest socio-economic costs.
The EESC urges the Commission to take the impact of the coronavirus crisis fully into account by assessing the 2030 emissions target and toopt for a minimum of 55% reduction by 2030 with the corresponding legislative proposals. The EESC points out that the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2019 tells us that an even more ambitious 2030 emission reduction target is needed globally to achieve the 1.5°C target set in the Paris Agreement.
The EESC recognises that everyone will have to take extra steps to achieve the set goal of climate neutrality in 2050. The recent Eurobarometer (before the coronavirus crisis) found that 92% of EU citizens support the EU's climate neutrality goal. Retaining the support requires the acceleration of climate action hand in hand with the economic recovery and reconstruction.
The EESC calls on the EU to play an initiating and inspiring role at the postponed November 2020 climate summit in Glasgow and subsequent climate summits in order to engage at least all major players worldwide in working energetically on climate neutrality.
The achievement of the target of climate neutrality in the Union by 2050 at European level is only possible if each country makes its contributions on mitigation and adaptation fully and on time. The EESC therefore supports that the Commission may issue recommendations to a Member State if that Member State's measures are inconsistent with the objective of mitigation or inadequate to ensure progress on adaptation, based on clear and transparent assessment criteria.
The EESC proposes that the full assessment document of any draft measure or legislative proposal in connection with the climate neutrality objective will be made publicly accessible as soon as the assessment is finalised.
The Commission proposal covers quite rightly both mitigation and adaptation, "in accordance with Article 7 of the Paris Agreement".
The EESC proposes setting up a European Climate Pact Stakeholder Platform, as set out in our opinion on the European Climate Pact, to organise and facilitate active participation of "all parts of society".