Key to Europe

On December 12 in Paris, 195 countries adopted a new international and binding agreement to combat global warming. For the first time, all countries commit to cutting their CO2 emissions in an effort to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C. AEGEE-Europe welcomes this historic deal as an ambitious step forward, but urges national governments and the European Commission not to wait until 2020 to increase their own climate actions.

As a body representing over 13,000 European students, AEGEE-Europe particularly applauds the clear ambition to phase out fossil fuels and limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C – even aiming for no more than 1.5°C. Our members belong to the generation that will be hit hardest by the effects of climate change, including more frequent extreme weather events, rising sea levels and climate migration. Only strong ambitions today can limit those effects tomorrow.

Moreover, a 1.5°C world still lies within our reach. However, we cannot afford to wait until 2023-25 for a first evaluation of the national climate action plans, as currently foreseen in the agreement. These national plans are painfully weak in light of the long-term goal: taken together, they still take us to 3°C of warming. It is therefore up to national governments and the European Commission to revise their plans before agreement enters into force in 2020.

In particular, the Commission must launch a process to ratchet up the emissions, renewables and efficiency targets of the European Framework for climate and energy, in order to bring them in line with the international ambition to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. This increased ambition at the European level must then be translated into stronger climate action plans at the national level and laws to fast-track the switch from fossil fuels to renewables.

By initiating a revision of its plans before 2020, the European Union could once more regain its leading position in the global fight against climate change. AEGEE-Europe urges national governments and the European Commission not to let this opportunity pass.

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