Dear Mr. Wopke Hoekstra, European Union Commissioner for Climate Action,
My name is Brittany Demogenes. I am the EU Country Manager for Climate Scorecard, a non-profit organization that monitors the climate policies and programs of leading greenhouse gas-emitting countries.
Based on a review of EU policies, we believe that much can be done to increase the EU’s climate ambition, achieve the global goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, and become carbon neutral by 2050. Therefore, we suggest that you adopt the following goals and announce these goals at COP28.
#1 EU Announces It Will Strengthen Its Paris Agreement Pledge:
As of 2022, the EU has pledged to achieve a target reduction of 55% (2.677 billion metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent) by 2030. We suggest that you announce a revision of this and related targets at COP28. We suggest that you announce that by 2030, the EU will reduce its emissions by 60% (2.920 billion metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent) and become carbon neutral by 2045. This goal can be achieved by more strictly regulating the EU Emissions Trading System by ensuring that the number of allocated permits continues to decrease and a more substantial price for pollution is inflicted on polluting corporations. Incentivizing some of the less wealthy or more hesitant EU Member States to adopt renewable energy resources will also be necessary. This can be achieved through additional EU subsidies and the implementation of accountability mechanisms that make the receipt of other types of EU aid contingent on the Member State’s development of renewable energy resources. Moreover, the continued addition of green spaces throughout the EU that can act as carbon sinks, while less important than decreasing fossil fuel emissions, can be useful in lessening emissions as the EU continues its transition to renewable energy.
#2 EU Announces it Will End the Production of Fossil Fuels:
As of 2022, 38.6% of the EU’s total electricity came from fossil fuels or 1019.426 TWh. However, between January and June of 2023, fossil fuels generated 410 TWh in the EU, making up the lowest ever 33% of demand and putting the EU on track to significantly decrease its use of fossil fuels in 2023.
In order to continue this promising trend, barriers to renewable integration must be addressed as demand for energy in the EU continues to increase after the energy price hike spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine. Solar capacity witnessed a notably positive trend at the beginning of 2023, with a rise in solar generation measured at 13% (+13 TWh) as of June compared to 2022 solar capacity. However, wind capacity has faced more significant struggles. Rising costs of installation rates have led to numerous Member States choosing to invest less in wind projects, and wind energy generation only increased by 4.8% (+10 TWh) in the first six months of 2023 compared to 2022 levels. Since energy from wind generation will be pivotal in phasing out the use of fossil fuels, along with solar power, hydropower, and nuclear energy, the EU should dedicate additional money from its Innovation Fund or larger climate budget to encourage the development of cheaper and more effective wind generation technologies. An increase in wind energy generation technologies paired with the current increase in solar energy generation technologies will assist the EU in becoming climate-neutral by 2045.
Moreover, the EU should phase out coal by 2030 in order to reach its climate goals. While Member States like Spain, Italy, France, and Austria have announced that they will phase out coal before 2030, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Croatia are not set to phase out coal until 2033, and Germany, while targeting phasing out coal by 2030, is not set to phase out coal until 2038. As such, the EU should require that Member States create plans to phase out coal by 2030. The European Environmental Agency should provide the oversight and monitoring necessary to ensure these plans are implemented. The increased development and subsidization of renewable energy technologies by the EU will also be crucial in assisting Member States in achieving coal phase-out by 2030.
I hope you will incorporate these suggestions in your presentation at COP28, and I look forward to hearing back from you.
Brittany Demogenes, EU Country Manager