Ahead of the European Council summit on 10-11 December, mayors warn that the EU 2030 emissions reduction target should be revised upwards to at least 60% by 2030. “Five years after the Paris agreement, the pandemic has shown sustainability to be a crucial issue on which we cannot fail,” says Dario Nardella, President of Eurocities and Mayor of Florence. “Europe must maintain its global leadership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60% for 2030, laying the groundwork for an inclusive recovery.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant socio-economic disruption to Europe’s cities with some cities still recovering from the last financial crisis. And the climate crisis is looming around the corner. Cities are being hit by a changing climate and delaying further any action would have a disproportionate negative impact on the most vulnerable in our societies. A green recovery would not only benefit the environment and the climate but also create more jobs, provide higher short-term returns, and increase long- term savings when compared to traditional stimulus programs. The EU now has a unique opportunity to embrace a more ambitious climate agenda and to lay the groundwork for a just and inclusive recovery across Europe.
To achieve this urgent task, a new position paper, released today by Eurocities, includes the following key messages:
- The EU 2030 emission reduction target should be revised upwards to at least 60% by 2030. The Commission should intensify collaboration with, and support for, cities undertaking major efforts to reach an even higher reduction target for 2030.
- Action at all levels of government and across all sectors is needed to achieve the goals of GHG emission reduction by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050. Cities are committed to showing the way forward. The Commission must capitalise on local expertise to develop the EU framework by working more with city authorities and their European network organisations.
- Reinforced financial support to the local level from the next Multiannual Financial Framework and the Recovery and Resilience Facility will be essential to sustain the transformation process in cities and meeting more ambitious EU GHG reduction targets by 2030. Also, greater flexibility in the stability and growth pact is needed to ensure better conditions for long term, local infrastructure investments. This is especially critical as the post-corona recession will increase pressure on city budgets.
- The Covid-19 pandemic, with its social and economic ramifications, has accentuated the link between climate, social and economic sustainability. All levels of government must reinforce efforts to ensure that no one is left behind in the green transition.
“For a just and green recovery in Europe, the recovery plans must match the needs of cities,” said Nardella. “This is no time for national vetoes. Our cities cannot afford any delay.” With recovery efforts now central to municipal budget plans, any delay in decisions at EU level “means a financial massacre on cities,” concluded Nardella.
The revised 2030 emission reduction target should also be included in the post-2020 Nationally Determined Contributions, which will be submitted by EU member states by the end of the year.