In fact, in its conclusions, the Council recalled that climate change is an existential threat to humanity and biodiversity across all countries and regions and requires an urgent collective response.

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The Council highlights that the EU now needs to urge third countries to strengthen their efforts together with the EU and further support them in their endeavors through all EU external policy instruments.

The conclusions also stress the importance of stepping up outreach activities on climate action with partner countries and regionals organizations, including in the context of upcoming summits.

Remarkably, the objective of achieving a climate neutral EU by 2050, in line with its commitment to the Paris Agreement; the outcome of the December 2019 European Council, the Council calls on the High Representative, Commission and member states to work jointly and urgently towards a strategic approach to Climate Diplomacy by June 2020 that identifies concrete, operational ways forward.

What is more, in June 2019, the European Commission launched its assessment of Member States’ draft plans, to implement the EU’s Energy Union goals, focusing on the agreed EU 2030 energy and climate goals. The assessment highlighted that although the plans represent significant efforts, there’s still room for improvement, concerning individual policies to be sure of the efficient delivery of 2030 targets.

In July, the appointment of Ursula von der Leyen as the new European Commission President  made headlines, as she won the support of parliamentarians with a strong call for climate and environmental action that could transform Europe over the next five years.

The new climate policy foresees the inclusion of the maritime sector in the EU Emissions Trading System, following years of contradictory negotiations. Her 24-page agenda for Europe, under the name ‘A European Green Deal’ shares targets for a more environmentally oriented Europe, with six key areas of focus:

  • A climate neutral EU by 2050;
  • An improved ETS;
  • A carbon border tax;
  • A move away from unanimous decision-making on climate and energy;
  • 2030 emission reduction targets of at least 50% and moving ‘towards’ 55%.v