Procedure : 2019/2582(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0188/2019

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PV 14/03/2019 - 11.15

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<TitreSuite>to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>

<Titre>on the strategy for a long-term reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement</Titre>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Peter Liese, Jytte Guteland, Nils Torvalds, Bas Eickhout, Lynn Boylan, Eleonora Evi</Depute>

<Commission>{ENVI}on behalf of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety</Commission>



European Parliament resolution on the strategy for a long-term reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement


The European Parliament,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 28 November 2018 entitled A Clean Planet for all – A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy (COM(2018)0773),

 having regard to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol thereto,

 having regard to the Paris Agreement, Decision 1/CP.21, to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UNFCCC and to the 11th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP11), held in Paris, France from 30 November to 11 December 2015,

 having regard to the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the UNFCCC, the 14th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP14), and the third part of the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1.3), held in Katowice, Poland, from 2 to 14 December 2018,

 having regard to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),

 having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2018 on the 2018 UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland (COP24)[1],

 having regard to the European Council conclusions of 22 March 2018,

 having regard to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report entitled Global Warming of 1.5°C, its fifth assessment report (AR5) and its synthesis report,

 having regard to the ninth edition of the UN Environment Emissions Gap Report, adopted on 27 November 2018,

 having regard to the motion for a resolution of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety,

 having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas COP24 in Katowice resulted in the adoption of the Katowice Rulebook, which provides legal clarity in implementing the Paris Agreement;

1. Highlights that European citizens already face direct impacts of climate change; underlines that, according to the European Environment Agency, average annual losses caused by weather and climate-related extremes in the Union amounted to around EUR 12.8 billion between 2010 and 2016, and that, if no further action is taken, climate damages in the EU could amount to at least EUR 190 billion by 2080, equivalent to a net welfare loss of 1.8 % of its current GDP; emphasises that under a high emissions scenario, annual costs from flooding in the EU could rise to EUR 1 trillion by 2100 and that weather-related disasters could affect about two thirds of European citizens by 2100, compared with 5 % today; further stresses that, according to the European Environment Agency, 50 % of the populated areas in the EU will suffer from severe water scarcity by 2030;

2. Recalls the November 2018 Eurobarometer findings, showing that 93 % of Europeans consider climate change to be caused by human activity, and that 85 % agree that fighting climate change and using energy more efficiently can create economic growth and jobs in Europe; notes that climate change is a high-priority issue for people in Europe;

3. Underlines that the IPCC special report on Global Warming of 1.5°C represents the most comprehensive and up-to-date scientific assessment of mitigation pathways in line with the Paris Agreement;

4. Emphasises that, according to the IPCC 1.5°C special report, limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot implies reaching net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally by 2067 at the latest, and reducing annual global GHG emissions by 2030 to a maximum of 27.4 GtCO2eq per year; stresses that, in the light of these findings, as a global leader and in order to have a safe chance of keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5°C by 2100, the Union needs to strive towards reaching net-zero GHG emissions as early as possible and by 2050 at the latest;

5. Expresses concern at UN Environments 2018 Emissions Gap Report, which finds that current unconditional nationally determined contributions (NDCs) far surpass the Paris Agreement warming limit of well below 2°C and will instead result in an estimated 3.2°C[2] temperature increase by 2100; stresses the urgent need for all Parties to the UNFCCC to increase their climate ambition by 2020;

6. Welcomes the publication of the Commission communication A Clean Planet for all – A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy; endorses the objective of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 and urges the Member States to do the same as part of the Future of Europe debate at the special EU summit in Sibiu in May 2019;

Pathways for the European mid-century zero emissions strategy

7. Notes that the strategy presents eight pathways for the economic, technological and social transformation needed for the Union to comply with the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement; notes that only two of these pathways would enable the Union to reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 at the latest; highlights that this requires swift action and considerable efforts on all levels, from local and regional to national and European, and the involvement of all non-public actors; recognises that regionally and locally determined contributions could be important tools in bridging the emissions gap; recalls the obligation of Member States to adopt national long-term strategies as laid down in the Governance Regulation[3]; calls on the Member States, therefore, to establish clear short and long-term targets and policies consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement and to provide investment support for net-zero pathways;

8. Highlights that the first category of pathways presented in the strategy aims to reduce GHG emissions by only around 80 % by 2050 compared to 1990 levels; notes with concern that this ambition is in the lower range of keeping global warming below 2°C and is therefore not in line with the Paris objective of keeping it well below 2°C, nor indeed the further aim of keeping it below 1.5°C;

9. Points out that, according to the Commissions estimates, EU GDP is expected to increase more under zero-emissions scenarios than in scenarios with smaller emissions reductions, with the effects in both cases being spread unevenly across the EU as a result of differences among Member States, inter alia in terms of GDP per capita and the carbon intensity of the energy mix; considers that inaction would be by far the costliest scenario and would not only result in massive GDP loss in Europe, but also further increase economic inequalities between and within Member States and regions, as some are expected to be hit harder than others by the consequences of inaction;

10. Notes with concern that the EUs energy import dependence currently stands at around 55 %; highlights that under a net-zero emissions scenario this would fall to 20 % by 2050, which would have a positive impact on the EUs trade balance and geopolitical position; notes that the cumulative savings in fossil fuel import costs between 2031 and 2050 would be around EUR 2-3 trillion, which could be spent on other priorities for European citizens;

11. Highlights that reduced air pollution under a net-zero emissions scenario would cut premature deaths from fine particulate matter by more than 40 %; notes that under such a scenario, health damages would be reduced by around EUR 200 billion per year;

12. Welcomes the inclusion of two pathways aimed at reaching net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 and the Commissions support for these, and considers the mid-century objective as the only one compatible with the Unions commitments under the Paris Agreement; regrets the fact that no net-zero GHG pathways for before 2050 were considered in the strategy;

13. Notes that those pathways involve the use of a number of carbon removal technologies, including through carbon capture and storage (CCS) or carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) and direct air capture, that have yet to be deployed on a large scale; considers however that the EUs net-zero strategy should prioritise direct emission reductions and actions conserving and enhancing the EUs natural sinks and reservoirs, and should only aim for the use of carbon removal technologies where no direct emission reduction options are available; believes that further action by 2030 is needed if the Union is to avoid relying on carbon removal technologies that would entail significant risks for ecosystems, biodiversity and food security, as also confirmed by the IPCC 1.5° report;

14. Stresses that until the feasibility of those technologies is proven, any pathway towards 2050 should be based on the commercial availability of key transition technologies, while taking into account different starting points among Member States by supporting just transition in the most carbon intensive regions and reducing emissions in all emitting sectors;

Social aspects of climate change and just transition

15. Welcomes the Commissions assessment that net-zero emissions are possible without net job losses and takes positive note of the detailed assessment of the transition in energy intensive industries; highlights that, if handled well and with the appropriate support for the most vulnerable regions, sectors and citizens, a just transition towards net-zero GHG emissions has the potential to create a net gain of jobs in the Union – economy-wide employment will increase by 2.1 million additional jobs by 2050 under a net-zero emissions scenario compared to an employment increase of 1.3 million additional jobs under the 80 % emission reduction scenario; considers, therefore, that the Commission should develop a renewed skills audit under the EU Skills Panorama, with regional data on the skills needs for a climate neutral Europe to support the most vulnerable regions, sectors and people in re-skilling for future-proof, high-quality jobs in these same regions;

16. Highlights that the transition needs to be just for all parts of society; notes that this requires an understanding of just transition that incorporates negative and positive impacts associated with accelerated climate action, such as job losses and new employment opportunities, as well as the impacts from delaying climate action;

17. Stresses the numerous co-benefits a climate neutral society will have on public health, both in terms of savings on the cost of care and a lighter burden on insurance and public health systems, as well as on the general well-being of European citizens thanks to enhanced biodiversity, a reduction in air pollution and mitigated exposure to pollutants;

18. Believes that Europes climate transition must be ecologically, economically and socially sustainable; stresses that, in order to ensure political acceptance by all citizens, it is important to take into account the distributional effects of climate-related and decarbonisation policies, specifically on people with low income; considers, therefore, that social impacts should be taken into full consideration in all EU and national climate policies with a view to ensuring a social and ecological transformation in Europe; emphasises, in this respect, that tailor-made and sufficiently funded strategies at all levels will need to be designed on the basis of inclusive processes and in close collaboration with local and regional public authorities, trade unions, educational institutions, civil society organisations and the private sector, to ensure that fair and equal opportunities are offered to all European citizens in this transition;

19. Recalls that approximately 50 to 125 million European citizens are currently at risk of energy poverty[4]; highlights that the energy transition can have a disproportionate effect on people with low incomes and further increase energy poverty; recognises that energy policy must incorporate a social dimension and ensure that no one is left behind; calls on the Member States to take forward-looking action to ensure a just energy transition and access to energy for all EU citizens;

20. Believes that young people have increasingly acute social and environmental awareness, which has the power to transform our societies with a view to a climate-resilient future, and that education for young people represents one of the most effective tools for combating climate change; stresses the need to actively involve younger generations in building international, intercultural and intergenerational relationships, which underpin cultural change that will support global efforts for a more sustainable future;

21. Welcomes the fact that people across Europe are becoming increasingly active in demonstrating for climate justice, in particular through school strikes; welcomes the calls from these activists for greater ambition and believes that national, regional and local governments, as well as the EU, should heed these calls;

22. Emphasises that the inclusion and participation of European citizens is vital to enable Europe to reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 at the latest; encourages all levels of national, regional and local government to put in place concrete measures to stimulate and facilitate the participation of citizens in the transition to a decarbonised society;

Intermediate targets

23. Recognises that the decade from 2020 to 2030 will be the most important if the EU is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050; calls on the Commission and the Member States to support a strong medium-term target for 2030, as this is necessary to bring sufficient investment stability to the market, to fully harness the potential of technological innovation and to increase opportunities for Europes businesses to become global market leaders in low-emission production;

24. Stresses that in order to reach net-zero GHG emissions in 2050 in the most cost-efficient manner, the 2030 ambition level will need to be raised and aligned with net-zero 2050 scenarios; believes it to be of the utmost importance for the Union to send a clear message, during the UN Climate Summit in New York in September 2019 at the latest, that it stands ready to review its contribution to the Paris Agreement;

25. Supports an update of the Unions NDC, with an economy-wide target of a 55 % reduction in domestic GHG emissions by 2030 compared with 1990 levels; calls, therefore, on EU leaders to support an increase in the level of ambition of the Unions NDC accordingly at the special EU Summit in Sibiu in May 2019, in view of the UN Climate Summit in September 2019;

26. Points to the impact that the emissions trading system (ETS) reform has had on EU emission allowance prices and to the fact that confidence in the system has been re-established;

27. Considers, therefore, that the Commission should, during the 2022-2024 reviews of the 2030 climate package and other relevant legislation at the latest, present legislative proposals that raise the level of ambition in line with the updated NDC and the net-zero emissions target; believes that insufficient 2030 ambition would limit future options, possibly including the availability of certain options for cost-efficient decarbonisation; considers these reviews to be an important milestone in securing the EU climate commitments;

28. Believes that, as a means to further ensure increased stability for markets, it will also be beneficial for the EU to establish a further interim emission reduction target by 2040 that can provide additional stability and ensure that the long-term 2050 target is met;

29. Considers it necessary to review the EUs net-zero emissions strategy regularly; considers that such a review should be informed by the five-yearly global stocktake as set out in the Paris Agreement and take into account technological and societal developments, as well as the input of non-state actors and the European Parliament;

Sectoral contribution

30. Emphasises that net emissions will have to be reduced to close to zero in all sectors of the economy, which should all contribute to the joint efforts to reduce emissions; calls on the Commission, therefore, to develop pathways to climate neutrality for all sectors; stresses the importance of the polluter pays principle in this regard;

31. Stresses the importance of adopting an integrated, cross-sectoral approach in order to facilitate decarbonisation efforts across the energy system and other associated sectors and benefit from increased efficiencies; recognises that energy system integration can provide higher flexibility, improved system efficiency, a higher uptake of renewable energy across all energy carriers, and ultimately a cost-effective energy transition;

32. Highlights the role of the energy intensive industries in achieving long-term EU GHG reductions; considers that maintaining the EUs low-carbon industrial leadership and industrial production in the EU, preserving the competitiveness of European industries and preventing the risk of carbon leakage necessitate intelligent and targeted policy frameworks; calls on the Commission to present a new and integrated EU industrial climate strategy for energy intensive industries in support of a competitive net-zero-emission heavy industry transition;

33. Calls on the Commission to develop an industrial strategy with measures that enable European industry to compete globally on a level playing field; considers that as part of this policy, the Commission should examine the effectiveness, and compatibility with World Trade Organisation rules, of additional measures to protect industries at risk of carbon leakage in respect of the import of products, which would replace, adapt or complement any existing measures on carbon leakage;

34. Recalls that by being part of the first major economy to pursue climate neutrality, Europes businesses will be able to gain first-mover advantage on international markets to become the global leader in sustainable and resource-efficient production; emphasises that delayed or insufficient action to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 at the latest will result in ecologically, economically and socially unjustifiable costs and effectively hamper the future competitiveness of Europes industrial sector;

35. Notes that a number of emerging markets are positioning themselves to play an important role in meeting the needs of the global market during the transition to a net-zero emissions economy, for instance with regard to zero-emissions transport and renewable energy; stresses that the EU must remain the leading economy in green innovation and investments in green technology;

36. Notes that the Commissions 2018 report on energy prices and costs in Europe highlights the ongoing high exposure of the EU to volatile and rising fossil fuel prices and that future electricity production costs are expected to increase for fossil fuel-generated electricity and fall for renewables; stresses that EU energy import costs increased by 26 % in 2017 to EUR 266 billion, mainly due to increasing oil prices; notes that the report estimates that oil price increases have had a negative impact on EU growth (-0.4 % GDP in 2017) and on inflation (+0.6);

37. Highlights the importance of, and encourages, innovation in a wide range of technologies with the aim of decarbonising the economy, such as zero-emissions transport, the circular economy and the bio-economy;

38. Recalls that 71 % of all energy is used for space heating alone; agrees with the Commission that energy-efficient homes will become the norm in a climate neutral EU, delivering better health and comfort for all Europeans;

39. Calls for a harmonisation of carbon and energy pricing in the EU in support of the transition to a net-zero emissions economy, in particular for those sectors not covered by the EUs ETS;

40. Highlights the central role of renewable energy sources in the transition towards a net-zero GHG economy, as energy is currently responsible for 75 % of Europes GHG emissions;

41. Considers that technology developments and solutions, energy efficiency in both supply and demand, sustainable renewable energy in the transport, buildings, heating and cooling, and power sectors, and circular economy principles will all be key in reducing GHG emissions; underlines in this respect the importance of technology-specific strategies;

42. Stresses that emissions from industrial processes have to be tackled on a much larger scale; points out that according to the IPCC 1.5°C special report, CO2 emissions from industry need to be 65 to 90 % lower in 2050 relative to 2010, and that such reductions can only be achieved through combinations of new and existing technologies, including CCU and CCS;

43. Calls for a highly energy-efficient and renewable-based energy system; asks the Commission and the Member States to take all necessary action in that regard, as it will have spill-over effects across all economic sectors; highlights that all pathways assume full decarbonisation of the power sector by 2050 at the latest, a drastic reduction of fossil fuels and a strong increase in renewable energies;

44. Highlights the contribution of energy efficiency to security of supply, economic competitiveness, environmental protection, the reduction of energy bills and the improvement of the quality of homes; confirms the important role of energy efficiency in the creation of business opportunities and employment, as well as its global and regional benefits; recalls, in this connection, the introduction of the energy efficiency first principle under the Governance Regulation, and that its application should be fully exploited throughout the energy chain and considered as the basis for any pathway towards the 2050 net-zero target;

45. Acknowledges the role attributed to CCS in most 1.5°C scenarios in the IPCC 1.5°C special report; stresses the need for the EU to pursue greater ambition in this area; further notes the targets set by Member States under the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan to implement commercial-scale CCS in the European energy and industrial sector in the 2020s; considers it necessary to increase the use in industrial processes of environmentally safe CCU and CCS, delivering a net reduction in emissions through emission avoidance or permanent storage of CO2; notes with concern that many CCU technologies are not delivering permanent emission reductions at present; calls on the Commission, therefore, to develop technical criteria which only ensure support to those technologies that deliver verifiable results;

46. Underlines that the Ecodesign Directive[5] has contributed significantly to the EUs climate targets by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 320 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents annually, and that it is estimated that by 2020, EU consumers will save up to EUR 112 billion in total, or around EUR 490 per household every year as a result of the directive; calls for additional products to be regulated under the Ecodesign Directive, including tablets and smartphones, and for existing standards to be kept up to date in order to reflect technological developments;

47. Points out that electrification of the building, industry and transport sectors will play a key role in reducing the emissions of these sectors and will require a massive supply of electricity; underlines, in this respect, the importance of policies enabling the power industry to deliver sufficient, reliable and competitively priced carbon neutral electricity; urges the Commission to bring all stakeholders together in order to enable this transition;

48. Stresses the need to implement the Energy Union and the Clean Energy package without delay, and to ensure further integration of the European energy market in order to decarbonise the power sector in the most effective way, facilitate investments where the most renewable energy production can be achieved and encourage the active participation of citizens, with a view to speeding up the energy transition towards a carbon neutral and sustainable economy while reducing energy poverty; considers it essential to raise the level of interconnectivity between Member States, including by encouraging more cross-border support schemes;

49. Points out that the strategy confirms that GHG emissions from the transport sector are still on the rise and that current policies will not be sufficient to decarbonise the transport sector by 2050; underlines the importance of ensuring a modal shift from air to rail travel, and towards public transport and shared mobility; notes that road transport contributes about one fifth of the EUs total emissions of carbon dioxide; calls on the Member States and the Commission, therefore, to take decisive steps to enable access to zero-and low-emission vehicles for consumers in all Member States, while avoiding an increased uptake of old, highly polluting vehicles in low-income Member States; further underlines the role of smart technologies, such as smart charging infrastructure, to establish synergies between the electrification of transport and the deployment of renewable energy sources;

50. Underlines that in order to achieve climate neutrality for the EU economy as a whole, all sectors must contribute, including international aviation and shipping; notes that the Commissions analysis shows that the current global targets and measures envisaged by the International Maritime Organisation and the International Civil Aviation Organisation respectively, even if fully implemented, fall short of the necessary emissions reductions, and that significant further action consistent with the economy-wide objective of net-zero emissions is needed; highlights the need for investments in zero- and low-carbon technologies and fuels in these sectors; calls on the Commission to put the polluter pays principle into practice in these sectors, in particular with regard to kerosene taxation and aviation ticket prices; recalls that GHG emissions from international shipping are projected to increase by as much as 250 % by 2050; welcomes the fact that the international shipping sector has set itself an absolute reduction target for GHG emissions; notes with concern the lack of progress as regards the translation of this target into short and medium-term measures and other concrete actions;

51. Calls on the Commission to propose a European Rail Agenda as soon as possible, including a framework for removing the barriers towards the swift realisation of an interoperable intra-EU high-speed rail network and mobilising enhanced investments in high-speed rail connections;

52. Notes that approximately 60 % of the worlds methane is emitted by sources such as agriculture, landfills and wastewater, and the production and pipeline transport of fossil fuels; recalls that methane is a potent GHG with a 100-year warming potential 28 times greater than CO2[6] and that methane emission reductions can play an important role in reducing ground-level ozone concentrations and their negative impacts on air quality and human health; welcomes the Commissions intention to reduce methane emissions in the sectors concerned, which could deliver a further reduction in ozone concentrations in the EU, and to promote methane reduction internationally;

53. Notes that the EU building sector currently accounts for 40 % of Europes final energy consumption and 36 % of its CO2 emissions[7]; calls for the sectors potential for energy savings and carbon footprint reduction to be unlocked, in accordance with the objective set out in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive[8]of achieving a highly energy-efficient and decarbonised building stock by 2050; stresses that making the energy consumption of buildings more efficient holds substantial potential for further reducing Europes GHG emissions; considers, in addition, that the achievement of low-energy buildings, fully supplied by renewable energy, is a sine qua non for the Paris Agreement and for an EU agenda for growth, local jobs and improved living conditions for citizens across Europe;

54. Reiterates its call on the Commission to explore as soon as possible policy options for rapidly addressing methane emissions as part of a Union strategic plan for methane, and to present legislative proposals to Parliament and the Council to that effect; underlines that agriculture will be one of the main remaining sources of EU GHG emissions in 2050, owing in particular to methane and nitrous oxide emissions; underlines the potential of the agricultural sector in tackling the challenges of climate change, for example through ecological and technological innovations, as well as carbon capture in soil;

55. Stresses the role of energy intensive industries both as actors and enablers of the transition; calls on the Commission to develop an EU industrial transformation framework to attract investments in low-carbon technologies and product development and to facilitate the necessary industrial pilots for breakthrough technologies on a commercial scale;

56. Calls for a common agricultural policy (CAP) that contributes to GHG emission reductions in line with the transition to a climate neutral economy; calls on the Commission to ensure that agricultural policies, in particular EU and national funds, are in line with the objectives and goals of the Paris Agreement;

57. Stresses the need to mainstream climate ambition into all EU policies, including trade policy; urges the Commission to ensure that all trade agreements signed by the EU are fully compatible with the Paris Agreement, as not only would this enhance global action on climate change, but it also guarantees a level playing field for the sectors affected;

58. Underlines that the EU should promote the role and efforts of regions, cities and towns; calls on the Commission to build on the work of EU Covenant of Mayors, representing 200 million European citizens, and enable them to play a catalysing role for further transition;

59. Regrets that the possibility of strengthening EU action on fluorinated GHGs has not been taken up in the Commissions strategy; stresses that preventing illegal hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) trade through the adoption of an HFC licensing system, prohibiting the use of HFCs in sectors that no longer need them, allocating HFC quotas via an auctioning system, and fully implementing the F-Gas Regulation [9]by banning all unnecessary uses of SF6, are clear opportunities to help the EU meet its Paris Agreement objectives;

Maximising the climate potential of forests in the context of a sustainable bioeconomy

60. Supports active and sustainable forest management at national level, together with concrete means to incentivise an efficient and sustainable EU bioeconomy, given the considerable potential of forests to contribute to the strengthening of Europes climate efforts (through sequestration, storage and substitution) and the achievement of the target of zero emissions by 2050 at the latest; recognises the need for climate change adaptation and the need to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems services in the EU by 2020; stresses the need to develop evidence-based polices that help implement and finance EU biodiversity conservation measures;

61. Highlights the need to make sustainable forest management more commercially competitive and to support practical measures with significant storage and sequestration effects, such as using timber as building material in both cities and rural areas, as a replacement for fossil fuels and as a tool for better water retention;

62. Recommends that significant effort should be focused on agroforestry and the very real gains to be made – ecologically and in biodiversity – through the incorporation of trees and various vegetation into working farmland;

63. Recognises the positive, but ultimately limited, potential for afforestation in Europe; believes, therefore, that afforestation initiatives must be complemented by concrete initiatives and incentives aiming to enhance sequestration potential, while ensuring and enhancing the health of existing forest lands in order to reap the benefits for the climate, the sustainable bioeconomy and biodiversity; supports, therefore, the afforestation of abandoned and marginally productive agricultural land, agroforestry and the minimisation of the conversion of forest areas to other land uses;

64. Points out that EU action and policies also have an impact on natural sinks, land and forests outside Europe and that the EU net-zero emissions strategy should ensure that EU action does not have harmful climate effects in third countries; calls on the Commission and the Member States, in this regard, to advocate robust international rules within the framework of the Paris Rulebook, especially in relation to Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, in order to prevent loopholes in accounting and double counting of afforestation measures that could dilute global climate efforts;

65. Considers that the long-term strategy does not pay adequate attention to the economys primary production sectors, and that the forestry and agricultural sectors and their respective communities face a disproportionately higher risk of adverse consequences of climate change; recommends that the strategy give a clear indication of the path that these sectors need to take to increase their resilience, improve risk prevention, and sustain the ecosystems and ecosystem services on which the economy depends;

66. Stresses the need to maximise the protection and restoration of woodlands and wetlands as natural carbon removers;

67. Highlights the fact that there is more carbon stored in soils than in the biosphere and atmosphere combined; underlines the importance, therefore, of halting soil degradation in the EU and of ensuring common EU action to preserve and improve the quality of soils and their capacity to store carbon;

68. Emphasises that out of the total technical potential of the practices for improved carbon sequestration of agricultural area in the EU, agroforestry has the greatest potential[10];

69. Highlights the role of long-life harvested wood products and their role in the land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector up to 2030; stresses that the future framework should consider the contribution of these products, including those from categories of agricultural land, and not only managed forest and afforested land;

70. Stresses the importance of streamlining agricultural models that support agricultural systems resilient to weather extremes and pest infestation and that deliver improvements in soil carbon sequestration, water retention and agrobiodiversity;

Financing and research

71. Calls for rapid implementation of the EU ETS Innovation Fund and for the start of the first call for proposals in 2019, in order to boost investments in the demonstration of low-carbon industrial breakthrough technologies in a wide array of sectors, not only electricity production, but also district heating and industrial processes; calls for the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF) and its programmes to be fully consistent with the Paris Agreement;

72. Considers that in order for the Union to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, substantial private investments need to be mobilised; believes that this will require long-term planning and regulatory stability and predictability for investors and, accordingly, due consideration in future EU regulations; stresses, therefore, that the implementation of the Sustainable Finance Action Plan adopted in March 2018 should be prioritised, including a calibration of the capital requirements of banks and prudential treatment of high-carbon assets, prudential rules for insurance companies and an update of institutional investors and asset managers duties;

73. Considers that the 2021-2027 MFF should, before its adoption, be evaluated in the light of the objective to reach a climate neutral economy by 2050, and that a standard test to ensure that expenditure under the EU budget is climate-proof must be established;

74. Notes that the EU Forest Strategy considers the rural development policy of the CAP to be the main source of support for the protection and sustainable management of EU forests, and that the Bioeconomy Strategy highlights the role of the CAP in supporting the bioeconomy both financially and by providing feedstock;

75. Regrets the fact that fossil fuel subsidies are still increasing and amount to around EUR 55 billion per year; calls for the EU and the Member States[11] to immediately phase out all European and national fossil fuel subsidies;

76. Stresses the importance of creating a just transition fund, especially for the regions most affected by decarbonisation, such as coal mining regions, combined with a general consideration of the social impacts of existing climate funding; highlights, in this regard, the need for wide public acceptance of the long-term strategy, given the transformations needed in some sectors;

77. Underlines that climate mainstreaming must be fully integrated in research and innovation content and applied at all stages of the research cycle as one of the principles of EU funding;

The role of consumers and the circular economy

78. Highlights the significant impact of behavioural change in the achievement of GHG emissions reductions, including in the whole food system, the transport sector and, in particular, the aviation sector; calls on the Commission to explore policy options as soon as possible, including on environmental taxation, in order to encourage behavioural change; underlines the importance of bottom-up initiatives such as the Covenant of Mayors in promoting behavioural change;

79. Notes that statistics from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation indicate that total meat and animal product consumption per capita in the EU-28 has decreased since the 1990s and that supporting this ongoing trend, combined with technical supply-side mitigation measures, could significantly reduce emissions from agriculture production;

80. Stresses the importance of the EU achieving not only an energy substitution, but also, to the same extent, a product/material substitution, namely the replacement of products and materials that are fossil-based or that create high emissions during production with products based on renewable resources;

81. Underlines that a very large part of energy use, and therefore GHG emissions, is tied directly to the acquisition, processing, transport, conversion, use and disposal of resources; stresses that very significant savings are possible at each stage in the resource management chain; highlights, therefore, that increasing resource productivity through improved efficiency and reducing resource waste through measures such as reuse, recycling and remanufacturing can significantly lower both resource consumption and GHG emissions while improving competitiveness and creating business opportunities and jobs; highlights the cost efficiency of circular economy measures; underlines that improved resource efficiency and circular economy approaches, as well as circular product design, will help to bring about a shift in production and consumption patterns and reduce the amount of waste;

82. Stresses the importance of product policy, such as green public procurement and ecodesign, which can make a significant contribution to energy savings and to reducing the carbon footprint of products, while at the same time improving the footprint of the materials used and the overall environmental impact; highlights the need to establish circular economy requirements as part of EU ecodesign standards and to expand the current ecodesign methodology to other product categories in addition to energy-related products;

83. Notes that the success of the transition towards a climate neutral Europe will depend on the participation and commitment of citizens, which can be facilitated by energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy or by nearby renewable technologies;

84. Considers that the work on a reliable model for measuring the climate impact based on consumption should be continued; takes note of the fact that, on the basis of the existing models, the in-depth analysis concludes that the EUs efforts to reduce the emissions of its production are somehow levelled off by the imports of goods with a higher carbon footprint; highlights the conclusion that by 2016 the EU had already contributed significantly to the reduction in emissions in other countries because of the increased trade flow and improved carbon efficiency of its exports;

The EU and global climate action

85. Underlines the importance of increased initiatives and sustained dialogue in relevant international fora, and of effective climate diplomacy with the aim of spurring on similar policy decisions that ramp up climate ambition in other regions and third countries; calls for the EU to increase its own climate financing and to work actively to encourage Member States to increase their climate aid (development aid rather than loans) to third countries, which should come in addition to overseas development assistance and should not be double counted as both development and climate finance aid;

86. Regrets the fact that many other major economies are not yet working on 2050 strategies and that there is almost no debate in other major economies about increasing the NDCs to bring them into line with the global target under the Paris Agreement; asks the Council and the Commission, therefore, to increase climate diplomacy and to take other appropriate measures to encourage other major economies, so that together we can achieve the long-term Paris Agreement targets;

87. Highlights the importance of strong EU climate and energy diplomacy and leadership in strengthening global and multilateral cooperation and ambition in the fight against climate change and for sustainable development; calls on the Commission and the Member States to advocate common frameworks and action within UN fora;

88. Emphasises that the UN Climate Change Summit of September 2019 would be the ideal moment for leaders to announce an increased ambition in terms of NDCs; considers that the EU should adopt a position on updating its NDC well in advance, so as to arrive at the summit well prepared and in close cooperation with an international coalition of Parties in support of enhanced climate ambition;

89. Highlights the merit of strengthening interoperability between EU policy instruments and third country equivalents, notably carbon pricing mechanisms; calls on the Commission to continue and intensify cooperation and support in the development of carbon pricing mechanisms outside Europe in order to pursue increased emission reductions and an improved level playing field worldwide; underlines the importance of establishing environmental safeguards to ensure an actual and additional reduction in greenhouse gases; calls on the Commission therefore to advocate for strict and robust international rules relating to Article 6 of the Paris Agreement to prevent loopholes in accounting or double counting of emission reductions;


° °

90. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.


[1] Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0430.

[2] UN Environment Programme, The Emissions Gap Report 2018, p.10.

[3] Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action, amending Regulations (EC) No 663/2009 and (EC) No 715/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Directives 94/22/EC, 98/70/EC, 2009/31/EC, 2009/73/EC, 2010/31/EU, 2012/27/EU and 2013/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 2009/119/EC and (EU) 2015/652 and repealing Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 1).


[5] Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products (OJ L 285, 31.10.2009, p. 10).

[6] Van Dingenen, R., Crippa, M., Maenhout, G., Guizzardi, D., Dentener, F., Global trends of methane emissions and their impacts on ozone concentrations, EUR 29394 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2018, ISBN 978-92-79-96550-0, doi:10.2760/820175, JRC113210.


[8] Directive (EU) 2018/844 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings and Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency (OJ L 156, 19.6.2018, p. 75).

[9] Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases and repealing Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 (OJ L 150, 20.5.2014, p. 195).

[10] Joris Aertsens, Leo De Nocker, Anne Gobin, 2011: Valuing the carbon sequestration potential for European agriculture.

[11] Energy Prices and Costs in Europe, COM(2019)0001, pp. 10-11.

Last updated: 13 March 2019Legal notice