Ministers must support strong EU climate and biodiversity plans | WWF
Ministers must support strong EU climate and biodiversity plans

Posted on 22 June 2020

The Climate Law and Biodiversity Strategy are not at present enough to deliver the just and green recovery that EU citizens want, and that our planet needs.
What’s happening?
On 23 June, EU environment ministers are meeting informally via video conference in order to discuss the ‘contribution of environmental and climate policies to the recovery from Covid-19’. They will focus on the draft EU Climate Law and the 2030 EU Biodiversity Strategy, as well as on the Circular Economy Action Plan. 

Why does it matter?
The Climate Law proposal and the Biodiversity Strategy are important, but not at present enough to deliver the just and green recovery that EU citizens want, and that our planet needs. The Climate Law proposal needs to be strengthened significantly by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers, while the Biodiversity Strategy needs strong political endorsement from Member States and a commitment to its full implementation. 

What does WWF want to see?

On the EU climate law
  • An emissions reduction target for 2030 of at least 65%, excluding carbon dioxide removal by sinks.
  • The scrapping or changing by 2021 of any EU policies that aren’t consistent with the EU’s climate objectives.
  • An independent expert EU climate body to advise on and suggest further improvements to EU climate policy approaches and plans and to report on their consistency with EU climate goals
  • A ban on all fossil fuel subsidies, advertising and sponsorship
On the 2030 EU Biodiversity Strategy

This will be the first meeting of environment ministers since the announcement of the 2030 EU Biodiversity Strategy where they will share their initial thoughts. The strategy is a potential game-changer for nature, food and farming policies and must be supported by ministers if we are to bring Europe’s nature back. In particular, ministers must: 
  • Strongly endorse and commit to implement the Biodiversity Strategy. 
  • Be explicit in support for the targets to legally protect a minimum of 30% of the EU’s land and 30% of the EU’s sea area and support the strict protection of at least one third of these areas.
  • Support legally binding EU nature restoration targets to restore degraded ecosystems that will contribute to solving both the biodiversity and climate crises.
  • Highlight the fact that the Biodiversity Strategy was largely omitted from the EU recovery package and call for sufficient investments in nature protection and restoration. A clear spending target for climate and environment of at least 50% in both the recovery package and the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) is needed.
Imke Lübbeke, head of climate and energy at WWF European Policy Office said:
“The EU climate law could be a milestone in our fight against climate change. If done right it will ensure that all EU policies need to align with our climate targets. Environment ministers have a unique chance to create a science-based law that leads the way globally, that ensures consistent actions across the economy - and that kicks out coal, oil and gas for good.”

Sabien Leemans, Senior Policy Officer for Biodiversity at WWF European Policy Office said 
“In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the Biodiversity Strategy sent a clear message - a healthy planet is a precondition for a healthy human society. However, this message was quickly forgotten in the recovery package proposal just a week later. Ministers must bring this message back by being vocal about the need to invest in nature through the recovery package by allocating 50% of it to climate and environment.”

More information:
The two questions that ministers have been invited by the Croatian EU Presidency to discuss are:
1. How can measures from recently presented initiatives of the European Green Deal,
such as the Circular Economy Action Plan and the Biodiversity Strategy, most
effectively contribute to the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and help to build
resilience and create a more sustainable and future-proof Europe?

2. How can the implementation of the recovery plan ensure a stable and forward-looking
investment environment that generates green growth and jobs, thus keeping the EU on
the right track towards the objective of achieving a climate-neutral Europe by 2050?

Edel Shanahan (Biodiversity)
Junior Communications Officer, 
WWF European Policy Office 
+ 32 484 49 35 15

Sarah Azau (Climate)
Media manager
WWF European Policy Office 
+32 473 573 13
Peacock butterfly (Inachis io)
Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) has a most admirable set of defenses against predation from birds and rodents. The eyespots, which resemble an owl when viewed upside down, are flashed at any inquisitive bird. Any would be attacker is giving even greater cause for concern from the loud grating noise produced by the rasping of the forewings. Innsbruck, Austria
© Anton Vorauer / WWF