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Industry pushes EU for lofty 2030 climate goals

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

In an open letter to the European Commission (EC), over 150 business leaders and investors urged the EU to commit to stricter climate targets. The coalition referred to the Commissions draft plan to raise its 2030 emissions targets from 40% to 55% against 1990 levels. 

In the communication published today (15 September 2020), the industry alliance emphasized the importance of setting ambitious energy transition targets within the regions' post-COVID economic recovery packages. Industry giants  Microsoft, Unilever, Ikea, Apple, and Google have all backed this intervention and have all publicly committed themselves to their own carbon neutrality goals. 

The letter showcases the pledges that companies have taken towards lowering emissions stating: "More than 900 companies are taking science-based climate action and more than 400 have approved science-based targets. We are investing heavily in clean energy, energy efficiency, and electrification, lowering emissions across value chains and the lifecycle of our products, and developing better practices in the bioeconomy."

The coalition called on the Council to further push a green stimulus of public spending and to create a market that further incentivizes the private sector to invest in green sustainability projects. "What we urgently need to see next is an ambitious implementation of the recovery package focused on achieving a green and digital transition, with the European Green Deal at its core and an elevated short-term emissions reduction target in its sights" states the letter.

The business leaders called on the EC to mitigate climate change and bring about sustainable economic recovery by:

  • Endorsing the ambition set out in the European Green Deal.

  • Submitting resilient recovery plans which enable the green investments needed to deliver climate neutrality.

  • Agreeing a clearly defined target to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and associated objectives.

In terms of the EU's 2030 climate and energy framework, its initial target was to decrease Greenhouse Gas (GHGs) by 40% from 1990 levels. However, according to leaked information, the EU Commission plans to discuss increasing this 2030 target to 55% and to further push renewable energy investment. 

This open letter comes at a perfect time as the Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will present the Commissions' proposal for increased 2030 targets in her first State of the Union address before the European Parliament in Brussels tomorrow (16 September 2020).

Prior to her election, in her candidacy manifesto, von der Leyen had revealed her ambitions to step up the EU's 2030 emissions targets. "I commit myself to putting forward a comprehensive plan to increase the European Union’s target for 2030 towards 55% in a responsible way" she stated in her agenda.

Pascal Canfin, a French centrist lawmaker who chairs the European Parliament’s environment committee, gave his full support to the business leaders’ initiative. Earlier in the year he also launched a green recovery alliance to promote a post-COVID green recovery plan.

“I strongly support this initiative,” Canfin said in a statement. “It is essential that businesses back the need to raise our ambition to make sure that we deliver during the next decades for Europe to become the first climate-neutral continent.”

The open letter, signed by top executives from multinational companies, will be officially unveiled at a virtual event to mark the opening of New York Climate Week on 21 September 2020.


Businesses and investor CEO open letter