Huge success for the German Presidency and Angela Merkel personally

The environment spokesperson for the largest group in the European Parliament (EPP, Christian Democrats) Dr Peter Liese calls the agreement at the EU summit on an ambitious climate target for 2030 a “huge success” for the German Presidency and also a personal success for Angela Merkel. "At the beginning of the week, hardly anyone believed that the EU summit would decide upon both the dispute over finances and the rule of law mechanism as well as the dispute over the climate target. Nonetheless, for both issues, an agreement was found. This is really good news and I am very happy about it. Europe must raise its ambitions with regards to climate so that our children and grandchildren do not live in a world where they can no longer control climate change. The adopted target is ambitious and in line with the Paris Agreement.

The Commission has convincingly demonstrated this in its impact assessment. That is why I welcome it very much that the Council has agreed to the Commission's proposal. I believe that the Council has been more responsible than the European Parliament. I hope that we can now quickly agree on a common legislative text. From the point of view of the EU Parliament, it will be particularly important that indeed every member state is climate neutral. This is, however, not what the heads of state and government have decided," said MEP.

Liese disagreed that a net 55% target is not ambitious and not in line with the Paris climate agreement. "We have been working on climate protection policy in the EU since 1990. Since then, we have cut 25% emissions which was often a huge challenge," Liese said.

In the negotiations now ahead, Liese said the potential of sinks in particular must be addressed. "The EU Commission has proposed that the climate target shall no longer be adopted as a mere reduction target, but as a net target. This means that removal of CO2 from the atmosphere, for example through sustainable forest management, through humus build-up in agriculture, or through modern technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, will be rewarded on a large scale for the first time. This is something we absolutely have to address, because after 2050 according to the experts, we need negative emissions, and if we don't create the right framework now, we won't achieve this.

Unfortunately, the formulation of the net target was only considered by the Greens and environmental associations from the perspective of target mitigation. However, this is too short-sighted. While I agree with the critics that there must be no loophole and that very precise rules are needed, the climate ultimately does not care whether we emit less or take CO2 out of the atmosphere. Due to the exaggerated negative reaction of the Greens and environmental groups on the word net, the European Parliament in its mandate has not addressed the issue of sinks before 2050 at all. This is an unfortunate collateral damage of a one-sided debate and I am thankful that the Council agreed to the Commission's target including the wording net", Liese concluded.