Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

EU Leaders Agree to 2050 Carbon Neutrality Deal Without Poland

Politics
The Rybnik Power Station in Rybnik, Poland on Sept. 20, 2018. Poland gets 80% of its power from coal. Hans Permana / Flickr

After marathon talks in Brussels, the leaders of European Union member states – bar Poland – agreed early Friday to commit to going carbon neutral by 2050.


"We have reached an agreement on climate change, it is very important, it was crucial, for Europe to show strong ambition," EU Council President Charles Michel said.

The summit was the first since European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen unveiled her "European Green Deal" – a plan to overhaul the EU economy and achieve climate neutrality by the middle of the century.

The 2050 goal is a key commitment under the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change. In order to meet it, EU countries will have to slash carbon emissions generated by fossil fuels and find ways to offset remaining emissions.

Poland Left Out

Poland, which gets 80% of its power from coal, resisted the plan during hours of intense debate and was ultimately left out of the commitment.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced he had secured an exemption from 2050 climate neutrality, but said the bloc had offered generous funding for regions that would be "most affected" by the fossil fuel phaseout.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that Warsaw would now have until a summit in June 2020 to decide whether it can commit to implementing the goal.

"There is no division of Europe into different parts, but there is a member state that still needs a bit more time," she added.

The French president's office said EU leaders would work towards getting Poland on board, and that the new "European Green Deal" would be rolled out in the meantime.

The Czech Republic had also raised objections to the 2050 carbon neutrality goal, and only agreed to the deal after assurances were made for member states to use nuclear energy to reduce emissions.

Scientists warn that a dramatic shift away from fossil fuels is needed to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

According to a 2018 EU report, the bloc's emissions have fallen significantly over the past two decades but still represent 9.6% of carbon emitted globally each year.

Reposted with permission from DW.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. JustTulsa / CC BY 2.0

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The Firefly Watch project is among the options for aspiring citizen scientists to join. Mike Lewinski / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Tiffany Means

Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.

Read More Show Less