Urgent need to substantially increase the EU’s Nationally Determined Contribution to at least 65% emission reductions by 2030
Letter to Minister Richard Bruton in advance of this week's Environment Council meeting
March 5 2020, 04:43pm
Dear Minister Bruton,
On 5 March at the Environment Council meeting in Brussels you have been invited to discuss the
European Green Deal, which includes the proposal to increase the EU’s Nationally Determined
Contribution (NDC) to the UNFCCC ahead of the deadline at this year’s UN Climate
Conference, COP26 in Glasgow. This meeting provides a critical moment where momentum can
and must be built for increases in Nationally Determined Contributions in 2020, well ahead of
The substantial enhancement of the EU’s greenhouse gas emission reductions commitments for
2030 is the single most important deliverable to determine whether the world will be able to
keep global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Failure to sufficiently increase
climate action before 2030 will cause irreversible damage to the global ecosystem and to
generations to come.
A trajectory consistent with keeping temperature increase to 1.5°C requires an EU
emission reductions target for 2030 of at least -65%.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Vice-President Frans Timmermans
proposal to present a comprehensive plan to increase the EU’s emission reduction target to
50-55% by 2030 is insufficient in achieving the 1.5°C target. According to the recent UNEP
Emission Gap Report, countries’ current NDCs under the Paris Agreement would cumulatively
limit temperature increase only to 3.2°C by the end of the century, causing severe threats to the
survival of human civilisation.
We, the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, call upon the Government, to show climate
leadership and call upon the Commission to propose a science-aligned increase in the
EU’s National Determined Contribution to at least 65%.2 Only this target will ensure
an emissions reduction trajectory that will limit temperature increase to 1.5°C in line
with the Paris Agreement.
Ireland must urge the European Commission to come forward with a proposal to increase
the nationally determined contribution as soon as possible, and by early June at latest
Earlier this week, the twelve members of the Green Growth Group published a letter to
Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, calling on the Commission to "present the 2030
Climate Target Plan as soon as possible and by June 2020 at the latest in order to advance
discussions in a timely manner". We note with particular concern and disappointment that
Ireland did not add its signature of support to this letter. As a rich nation with high per capita
emissions Ireland must be willing to do much more than is currently envisaged in existing plans.
Accelerating ambition before 2030 is consistent with the commitments made by Ireland when it
ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016, and a higher target will increase the chances of reaching
global net zero emissions well before 2050. There is no time to waste.
The timeline suggested by the European Commission to present a proposal possibly after the
June European Council does not enable the EU to agree a revised target in time. Revising its
ambition upwards early this year would enable the EU to play a global climate leadership role, to
build momentum to move other big emitters, and to leverage the opportunities offered by the
series of international events leading up to COP26 in November. This is crucial to ensure the
success of the UN Climate Conference and to keep the 1.5°C objective attainable.
We call on you to urge that the Commission urgently advance a proposal to
substantially increase the EU NDC figure in line with the science and the EU’s fair
share of the global effort as soon as possible, and ideally before the Summer.
We call on you to i) give your support for a science-aligned 2030 target at the Environment
Council meeting and ii) to urge that the Commission urgently advance a proposal to substantially
increase the EU NDC figure before the summer.
We hope you will consider these recommendations seriously and substantively. We look forward
to your urgent response.