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European Commission - Statement

Commissioners Miguel Arias Cañete and Carlos Moedas welcome the UN climate change report on 1.5° C global warming limit

Brussels, 8 October 2018

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has today issued its Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The report provides policy-makers across the globe with a strong scientific basis for their efforts to modernise the economy, tackle climate change, promote sustainable development and eradicate poverty.

Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete for Climate Action and Energy and Commissioner Carlos Moedas for Research, Science and Innovation welcome the report, issued two months before the international climate talks in Katowice, Poland. The report provides a timely input for the Commission's proposal for a strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reductions, to be presented in November.

Commissioners Arias Cañete and Moedas said:

“The EU has been at the forefront of addressing the root causes of climate change and strengthening a concerted global response to it in the framework of the Paris Agreement. Today's report is a remarkable endeavour of scientists to inform policy-makers worldwide and society at large. EU-funded research provided indispensable input to this undertaking. We would like to thank the scientists for their outstanding work in delivering this timely report.

Three years ago, when 195 countries adopted the Paris Agreement, we asked the IPCC to tell us what action was needed for the world to limit global warming to 1.5°C, and what might happen if the world would fail to do so. Science has now given us the answer and it is a clear one: the Special Report confirms that limiting climate change to 1.5°C is necessary to avoid the worst impacts and reduce the likelihood of extreme weather events. It demonstrates that human-induced global warming has already reached 1°C above preindustrial levels and is increasing at approximately 0.2°C per decade. The impacts of global warming are already transforming our environment and trend changes have been detected in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. The EU will work to address those challenges and expects others to follow. All parties must step up efforts from the pledges made under the Paris Agreement.

The report shows that 1.5°C is doable, provided we act now and use every tool at our disposal. In December countries will gather at the UN Climate summit (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, to assess progress towards our global climate goals. The world will need to raise the collective ambition, we need to deliver on our goals, and we need to start preparing to achieve a carbon neutral economy as soon as possible this century. This is the message we will take to Katowice.

Taking the valuable input from the Report into account, the Commission will work to present in November an EU strategy for long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction. It will be a comprehensive vision for the modernisation of our economy, our industries, and our financial sector. The EU will work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in-line with the Paris Agreement, and to make our economy more modern, innovative, competitive and resilient.

In short, as there is no planet B, saving our planet Earth should be our number one mission. To this end, research and Innovation will play a crucial role in our efforts to tackle climate change and the EU will continue to lead in that domain. We have put climate at the heart of our proposal for Horizon Europe, the new EU's research and innovation programme. We propose to invest 35% of the programme to climate objectives, through the development of innovative and cost-effective zero-carbon solutions. We must raise our ambitions in combating climate change in line with the outcome of this report, and turn today's challenges into opportunities."

 

Background

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body responsible for assessing the science related to climate change. Its reports are based mainly on peer-reviewed and published scientific and technical literature and bring together hundreds of leading experts from around the world.

The IPCC decided to prepare this special report, in response to an invitation from the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties at its 21st meeting in December 2015 when the Paris Agreement was signed. The report is being prepared under the scientific leadership of all three IPCC Working Groups and is part of the IPCC's 6th assessment cycle, which is expected to be finalised in 2022.

Research projects funded under the EU's Framework Programmes for research, as well as under research programmes by individual Member States, have contributed significantly to the report, while 30% of the lead authors are European.

To meet the Paris targets, the EU needs around €180 billion in extra investment every year until 2030 in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean transport. In March 2018, the Commission presented its Sustainable Finance Action Plan consisting of ten ambitious legislative and non-legislative measures to mobilise finance for sustainable investments and sustainable growth.

Environment and resource and energy efficiency are already very prominent sectors under the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI). EFSI 2.0 focuses even more on sustainable investments in all sectors to contribute to meeting COP21 targets and to help to deliver on the transition to a resource efficient, circular and low-carbon economy. At least 40% of EFSI projects under the infrastructure and innovation window should contribute to the Commission's commitments on climate action in line with the COP21 objectives.

In this context, for the next Multiannual Financial Framework, the Commission proposed to raise the level of ambition for climate mainstreaming across all EU programmes, with a target of at least 25% of EU expenditure contributing to climate objectives.

Under the Paris Agreement on climate change, the EU has committed to a cut of at least 40% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This is an investment in our prosperity and the sustainability of the European economy. The EU has put in place a modern and advanced regulatory framework for the clean energy transition, delivering on the Juncker Commission's objective to become a global leader in renewables and to put energy efficiency first.

On the basis of the proposals the Member States and the European Parliament have this summer settled on targets for energy efficiency (32.5%) and renewable energy (32%) that are actually higher than those proposed by the Commission.

As a result, and on the basis of Commission's analysis, these higher percentages agreed by the European Parliament and Council will lead to steeper emission reductions for the whole EU – some 45% by 2030 instead of 40%.

 

More information

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Further information about EU research and climate

Link to the report

 

STATEMENT/18/6043

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