Business giants called for raised EU climate targets

Business giants including Unilever, Interface, and Coca-Cola European Partners have signed a joint statement calling for the European Union to raise emission reduction targets for 2030, in order to remain on course for carbon-neutrality by 2050.

Business giants called for raised EU climate targets

European Parliament. The Group has previously called for a bloc-wide net-zero target

Convened through the European Corporate Leaders Group (CLG Europe), the businesses have called for stronger policy signals that will enable investments into low-carbon solutions to be ramped up. Specifically, the group is calling for an emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030.

In a position statement to the EU, CLG Europe said: “CLG Europe…supports an increase to at least 55%. A 55% target is in line with recent studies suggesting that a minimum of 55% reductions for 2030 is both necessary to remain in line with the 2050 climate neutrality goal, and feasible from a technical and economic point of view, with early action being more cost-effective than delay.

“As business leaders who aspire to build the climate-neutral economy of the future, we urge you to agree the necessary policy foundations and set the direction of travel that will provide us with the clarity and confidence to act as rapidly and boldly as possible.”

Policy confusion

The group claims the target is technically feasible. Analysis suggests that the EU can reach a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030 through current trajectories. The EU Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has vowed to increase the current 40% target to 50% in the near future, but business leaders are calling for higher ambition.

In fact, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said that the EU should “concentrate on immediate and urgent” climate policies for 2030 rather than a proposed 2050 net-zero target.

Analysis also suggests that bringing down emissions from heavy industry to net-zero by 2050 within the bloc is possible but will require costly new production processes and a 25-60% increase in near-term capital investments to reach €40-50bn per year.

Eliot Whittington, Director, CLG Europe said: “This is a significant move by a group of leading European businesses, who are ready and keen to accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy and all the opportunities it can bring. A high ambition on 2030 is both essential to remain within the parameters of a 1.5C-increase world, and also will be good for the economy in the long-term.

“By adopting this increased target of at least 55% and reflecting it through the new policies of the European Green Deal, innovation and investment can be unlocked to deliver the action needed for these next crucial 10 years.”

The Group has previously called on the EU to set a legally binding net-zero carbon emissions target for 2050.

The European Commission has developed a policy framework which targets ‘climate-neutrality’ for the EU. Called ‘A Clean Planet for all’, the vision outlines a range of potential scenarios for decarbonising the European economy, including a pathway for achieving net-zero by 2050.

Matt Mace

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