EU Leaders Missed Climate Chance, Paris Deal Negotiator Says

(Bloomberg) -- Vague commitments by the European Union’s leaders to fight climate change at a much-touted summit about the bloc’s future fell flat for activists and green lobbyists.

“It is a standstill when at the same time there’s a growing demand on the
society’s side,” said Laurence Tubiana, who was the French climate ambassador at the 2015 meeting that sealed the Paris climate accord. “It’s a missed opportunity for the heads of state.”

In their so-called Sibiu declaration, named after the Transylvanian city where they met on Thursday, leaders from the EU’s 28 nations referred to climate in only the last of their 10 commitments.

“We will continue working with our partners in the world to uphold and develop the rules-based international order, to make the most of new trading opportunities and to jointly tackle global issues such as preserving our environment and fighting climate change,” they said.

EU Leaders Missed Climate Chance, Paris Deal Negotiator Says

That stopped short of expectations by climate activists, who want progress in talks about long-term targets for the bloc. The European Commission proposed last year that member states endorse a move to net-zero emissions by 2050, a goal that has divided EU nations.

The climate strategy is aimed at showing how determined the bloc is to honor the Paris climate accord’s targets, even after President Donald Trump withdrew the from the agreement, putting the U.S. policy at odds with almost all other countries.

The EU, responsible for 10% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, is planning ahead to give direction to national governments, companies and citizens to mitigate global warming. As a next step, EU leaders are poised to discuss long-term plan at a summit in June, though a political deal may take more time.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.