Ahead of the European Council’s discussion on the ambition level of the new 2030 climate target, a unique gathering of businesses, investor groups, local and regional authorities and NGOs published a joint letter calling on the EU leaders to agree on the most ambitious target level.

Signed by 47 organisations representing over 2,700 cities, 330 regions, €62 trillion in investment portfolio, more than 800 companies and 330 NGOs, the joint letter clearly expresses the desire of European stakeholders to have the EU’s 2030 climate target substantially increased. Building on the recent proposal from the European Commission, the signatories hope European Member States will improve what is proposed, and in particular call for decisive action to remove emissions through Nature Based Solutions to come on top of the needed strong emission reductions in other sectors.

The letter welcomes the Commission’s proposal to substantially increase the EU’s 2030 climate target and states that the Member States should agree on at least -55% while some civil society organisations supporting the letter are already calling for at least -65% emission reductions. European stakeholders encourage Member States to achieve increased climate target both by strong emission reductions as well as decisive action to remove emissions through Nature Based Solutions in line with the need to protect Europe’s biodiversity.

European cities, regions, businesses, investors, NGOs and local communities, underline that only ambitious climate action can avert the most dire future costs of climate change impacts and provide a unique societal and economic opportunity to achieve a socially just transition for all European regions.

Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said: “For the EU to provide a fair contribution to the global effort to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C, a reduction of at least 65% of greenhouse gas emissions would be needed. We thus need Member States to support increasing European climate action in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. More is necessary, possible and it would protect Europeans from the worsening impacts of climate change, while providing a unique opportunity to recover from the current economic crisis and create socially just, better and healthier jobs.”

Wolfgang Teubner, ICLEI Regional Director for Europe said: “Local and regional authorities implement 70% of EU legislation, 70% of climate mitigation and 90% of climate adaptation measures, as well as 65% of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Cities are not only ready for ambitious commitments, but also to advance implementation. For that reason, we support raising the 2030 climate target to a minimum 55% GHG emissions reduction to bolster the necessary efforts to meet the 1.5°C goal. This sets the path for appropriate frameworks to support the hundreds of local governments that are already working on the ground to become climate neutral, divest from fossils and meet the challenges of the ongoing climate emergency.”

Julije Domac, President of FEDARENE said: “FEDARENE welcomes the Commission’s proposal to increase the EU’s 2030 climate target to at least 55% GHG reductions as it is the only responsible scenario. EU’s higher 2030 climate targets will help local and regional authorities promote their own higher ambitions to national governments and secure larger support for local action. Recovery efforts must be directed at achieving these goals as sustainable energy and climate action stimulates local economic development, alleviates energy poverty, improves air quality and truly informs and empowers citizens and local initiatives.”

Statements from Steven Tebbe, Managing Director, CDP Europe;  María Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business Coalition; Eliot Whittington, Director, CLG Europe; Frauke Thies, Executive Director, smartEn; Roland Moreau, President of the EU Chapter of the Club of Rome; Cees Loggen, Regional Minister of Noord-Holland Province and CPMR (Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions) Vice-President for Climate & Energy; Sören Ronge, European Coordinator of Protect Our Winters (POW) Europe; Eamon O’Hara, Executive Director of ECOLISE; Andreas Gürtler, Director of European Industrial Insulation Foundation (EiiF); Halla Tómasdóttir, CEO and Chief Change Catalyst of The B Team; Marissa Ryan, head of Oxfam EU, and Nils Borg, Executive Director of  European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, can also be found here.