Do not compromise our future! #AllEyesOnEU

On Wednesday, the 9th of December, the European climate movement will stand in solidarity with their Polish counterparts in their fight for social and climate justice. A central action will be held in Warsaw supported by digital and local actions across Europe. What is happening in Brussels on the 10th and 11th December?

On these days, the European Council will be meeting. The European Council is made up of all the leaders of the EU countries and they will discuss and (hopefully) agree on a common emission reduction target until the year 2030. So far, the European Parliament has voted for a reduction of 60%, while the European Commission supports a 55% target. However, both of those numbers are far too low if we want to have a chance to fulfill the Paris Agreement (there are many actions planned for its upcoming 5th anniversary!) and thereby keep global warming below 1.5°C.

For that, we need an absolute emission reduction of at least 65% until 2030 (find out more about that here). The bad news is that so far only 3 countries are openly supporting a 65% target. Most EU countries are in favour of a reduction by 55%, but sadly, there are also those for whom even that is too high. The only way to get the desired absolute reduction target of 65% is if every single EU country supports it.

We must work together to get each government to agree on a higher reduction target. Our narrative must be consistent – we all have to demand 65%, because anything below that is unacceptable. Today, all over Europe, 34 youth climate organisations from 20 countries have published a letter to their leaders in which they write: 

Young people around the world already suffer from the effects of the climate crisis. Now is the time to make climate justice a reality. If protecting human rights is what the European Union stands for, it needs to abandon its business-as-usual path and build a system that would allow the planet and people to thrive. The climate crisis cannot be merely seen through the lens of an ecological collapse. It has to be seen from a holistic perspective – as a human rights crisis – and acted upon accordingly.

The 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target is a crucial part of future European Union climate policy. It will determine if the European Union will reach its commitment to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. According to the 2018 IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5° C the current European Commission proposal of 55% emission reduction by 2030 is not enough. 

“All around the world people, but especially the youth, are demanding change. Our future is not negotiable. We need to listen to science and not blindly follow political agendas. 55% of emission reduction by 2030 is by far not enough. More is necessary and achievable, if we stand united and fight together. says Elisha,  YEE´s Liaison Officer on Climate Change. 

But not only is a significant reduction scientifically necessary. The European Union has a global responsibility towards those who already suffer today from weather catastrophes and droughts caused by climate change. “I am afraid of drowning in my own bedroom because of the intense floods. My home, the Philippines, has been hit by typhoon after typhoon. The EU can not stand idly by while millions of people from the most affected areas of the world suffer. After hundreds of years of colonial exploitation the EU owes it to the people they have oppressed to do everything in their power to not only mitigate the effects of the climate crisis, but to pay reparations for the historical injustices they have caused.” Mitzi Jonelle Tan, Climate Activist from Philippines

Human rights and social equality go hand in hand with climate justice. The EU needs to show that it has understood this. Bold climate action with higher targets is not enough. The EU needs to address infringement upon democratic values seen in Poland or Hungary. Do not compromise our democracy and climate. Do not compromise our future! 

Read the open letter from European youth climate activists to the European Council here.

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