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Finland and 11 other Member States haste the process to tighten EU's emission reduction target

Press release 2020-03-03 at 11:30

Finland and 11 other EU countries call on the European Commission to tighten the EU’s emission reduction target to 2030 as soon as possible. The Environment Ministers will discuss the climate actions of the EU at the Environment Council on 5 March.

"Climate action cannot be delayed. The EU must set an example in tightening climate objectives as the countries of the world are updating their emission reduction targets this year. The Commission should give its proposal to tighten the emission reduction target to 2030 in June at the latest. This means that we could agree on this well before the next international climate conference in Glasgow in November,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen.

Besides Finland, the petition has been signed by Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Environment Ministers to confirm the objective of a climate neutral Europe by 2050 to the UN

At the Environment Council meeting in Brussels on 5 March, the EU Environment Ministers should also adopt the EU's long-term climate strategy to be sent to the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Climate Change. The strategy constitutes the EU’s official communication to the UN concerning the objective to achieve climate neutrality in Europe by 2050. All parties to the Paris Climate Change Agreement must submit their long-term strategies to the UN during 2020.

“Europe is committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2050, as the first continent in the world. It is important to confirm this message to the UN and the whole world. After this, we can focus on tightening the target to 2030. We must move fast to tighten the target to 2030 if we wish to achieve a climate neutral Europe by 2050,” Minister Mikkonen says.

The Environment Ministers will also discuss the climate measures included in the European Green Deal published by the Commission last December and the new Circular Economy Action Plan. The Green Deal is the Commission’s proposal on actions to rebuild the EU economy and solve the sustainability crisis.

The agenda also includes the adoption of conclusions on improving air quality in Europe. Air pollution is the most important environmental cause of health problems in the EU. It is estimated to cause more than 400,000 premature deaths each year.

The ministers will also discuss the EU water legislation and greening of the European Semester. As part of the European Semester, the Commission publishes an Annual Growth Survey that sets out the recommendations for the EU's socio-economic priorities for the coming year. This year’s survey is entitled the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy and, in addition to the economic objectives, the priorities include solving the sustainability crisis and reaching the sustainable development goals.

“Climate and sustainability objectives are not a separate policy dimension but they must guide all EU policies. This is the only way to tackle the root causes of the sustainability crisis. The European Green Deal is an inspiring example of this. Together with the Sustainable Growth Strategy it shows that building a sustainable future is a high priority for the EU,” Minister Mikkonen says.

Inquiries:

Riikka Yliluoma, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 50 414 1682, riikka.yliluoma@ym.fi

Marjo Nummelin, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 40 523 3710, marjo.nummelin@ym.fi (climate)

Mervi Mattila, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 50 436 0780, mervi.mattila@ym.fi (Environment Council)

Sarianne Tikkanen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 50 471 0386, sarianne.tikkanen@ym.fi (circular economy and greening of the European Semester)

Tarja Lahtinen, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 50 362 2068, tarja.lahtinen@ym.fi (air quality)