June 5. 2023. 5:36

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EU climate chief calls for higher ambition at COP28 after IPCC report

The latest synthesis report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “should be the basis for greater ambition at COP28” the EU’s climate chief Frans Timmermans said about the UN’s yearly climate conference which will take place in Dubai this year.

“Temperatures have already risen to 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a consequence of more than a century of burning fossil fuels, as well as unequal and unsustainable energy and land use,” the UN said after its climate body, the IPCC, published its yearly report on Monday (20 March).

“This has resulted in more frequent and intense extreme weather events that have caused increasingly dangerous impacts on nature and people in every region of the world,” it added, noting that “climate-driven food and water insecurity is expected to grow with increased warming”.

The EU’s climate chief, Frans Timmermans, took to Twitter to remind that Dubai will host this year’s COP28 in November, offering an opportunity to quickly raise global climate ambitions after what he said was a disappointing UN climate summit last year.

“Many stakeholders, far too many, are not prepared to do more today in the fight against the climate crisis,” he said after COP27 in November.

Scientists deliver ‘final warning’ on climate crisis

IPCC report says only swift and drastic action can avert irrevocable damage to the planet, reports The Guardian, EURACTIV’s media partner.

Raising EU targets

Before COP27, Timmermans said the EU was ready to raise its target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 57% below 1990 levels by 2030.

This is two percentage points above the 55% target presented in the EU’s climate and energy package of legislation in 2021, dubbed ‘Fit for 55’.

For Timmermans, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a prerequisite for compensating for loss and damage – which dominated talks at last year’s UN climate summit.

“If we don’t drastically reduce our emissions, no amount of money or effort spent on adaptation or loss and damage will allow humanity to cope with the disasters that will occur,” he told reporters before heading to Egypt for the COP27 last year.

Following the release of the IPCC report, the UN argued that in order to contain “rising climate threats” it is necessary to “cap global emissions by 2025 at the latest, and then cut them by almost half by 2030”.

The aim is to achieve climate neutrality “as close as possible to 2040”, added UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

This will require countries not only to “halt any expansion of existing oil and gas reserves”, but also, for developed countries, including EU members, to “ensure net-zero electricity production by 2035”, he added.

Timmermans: EU’s 2030 climate goal ‘can now be increased to 57%’

The European Union’s climate chief, Frans Timmermans, arrives in Sharm El-Sheikh for the COP27 summit with some good news: The EU’s 2030 climate goal “can now be increased to 57%,” from 55% previously, he confirmed.

“Every fraction of a degree counts”

Many of the regulations from the EU’s ‘Fit for 55’ package that are still being negotiated aim to achieve these goals, such as the EU’s Renewables Directive, which projects that renewables will cover at least 40% of the EU’s energy consumption by 2030.

To this end, Timmermans called on EU countries on Monday (20 March) to pursue “strong national policies to get the job done”.

“Every fraction of a degree counts and every step makes a difference,” he said.

Yet, Timmermans has been less supportive of nuclear power, which currently generates more than 25% of all electricity produced in the European Union – with no associated carbon emissions.

Like Timmermans, Pannier-Runacher insists on the importance of COP28, noting that the meeting “must also mark a new stage for the international community.”

“After the disappointment of Sharm-el-Sheikh [COP27], the Dubai COP must enable us to raise our ambitions by bringing on board all the countries of the world, and in particular those that emit the most,” she said, adding that “the efforts of the European Union alone will not be enough”.

Nuclear power continues to divide EU member states. Some, including France and Poland, want nuclear power to be recognised as a low-carbon energy source while others like Germany and Austria are opposed, saying nuclear is too risky for the environment and should not be supported at EU level.

Eleven EU countries launch alliance for nuclear power in Europe

Signatories committed on Tuesday (28 February) to “cooperate more closely” across the entire nuclear supply chain, and promote “common industrial projects” in new generation capacity as well as new technologies like small reactors.

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