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EU long-term climate strategy

The parties to the Paris Agreement are obliged to draft long-term climate plans and to submit them to the UN by 2020. The EU is currently working on its own long-term climate strategy. The Commission presented its strategic long-term vision A Clean Planet for all in November 2018.

The Commission communication outlines how Europe can lead the way to climate neutrality by 2050. Of key importance is investing in technological solutions, empowering citizens and harnessing key areas such as finance, research and industrial policy. A successful transition to climate neutrality will require socially fair climate action.

Finland seeks common understanding

Central issues during Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU include the EU’s long-term climate strategy, the key means to finalise it, and the other elements and framework conditions of the strategy.

Finland will strive to move the strategy process forward so that the October or December European Council could reach a common understanding on an emissions reduction strategy that is as ambitious as possible.

EU must continue to take the lead in climate policy

The EU’s long-term objective must contribute to ensuring that the average global temperature does not rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. In its strategic long-term vision, the Commission states that the EU should by 2050 be among the first to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, i.e. carbon neutrality, and lead the way worldwide. Carbon neutrality means capturing the same amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as is emitted into it.

It is important that the European Council reach an agreement on the ambitious objective as soon as possible. According to preparatory studies carried out by the Commission, the transition to carbon neutrality would benefit the EU economy as a whole. However, it would also require both realigned and additional investments in all sectors of society.

Shared vision will guide decision-making during the next decade

A coherent and clear long-term vision will create operational reliability, help redirect investments sustainably from the climate perspective and facilitate decisions made in the near future to reform economic structures. If the long-term objectives are to be achieved cost-effectively, the pace of emissions reductions must be significantly accelerated already in the next few years. The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gives the world only 10 to 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

A Clean Planet for all – A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy
European Commission press release “The Commission calls for a climate neutral Europe by 2050” (28 November 2018)
European Council conclusions (20 June 2019)

Inquiries

Laura Aho, Senior Specialist, tel. +32 470 204 035, firstname.lastname(at)formin.fi
Marjo Nummelin, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 250 227, firstname.lastname(at)ym.fi
Johanna Kentala-Lehtonen, Senior Specialist, EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 960, firstname.lastname(at)vnk.fi