27 June 2019
PES Group calls for a just transition to climate neutrality by 2050

PES Group calls for a just transition to climate neutrality by 2050

Plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions

Every day, the climate crisis shows the gravity of the situation we are living in all regions of Europe, whether it is because of the increase of extremely high temperatures, the water scarcity, droughts and fires becoming more and more intense or because of floods. Despite the urgency to address the issue, many governments have not yet clearly set out the policies and investment needed to address this issue. On 20 June, the European Council also failed to agree on climate neutrality by 2050 due to the veto of a small minority of four Member States. 

Time has come for Europe to take the lead and to urgently put into place a series of measures that will change the way we produce, consume and live while respecting the limits of our planet and by being fully aware of what we will leave to our children and grandchildren.  

Progressive mayors and regional governors are on the frontline taking up the challenge, both by setting good examples in their cities and regions and by shaping the debate at European level, in     line with their call to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals' agenda as well as the Paris agreement.

 “Despite the opposition of some Member States in the European Council, implementing an ambitious agenda on climate neutrality is a true urgency. I am calling on the European institutions to fully commit to achieving the goal of zero climate impact by 2050 at the latest”, stressed PES Group member Michele Emiliano, President of the Puglia region (Italy) and European Committee of the Regions' rapporteur on a “Clean Planet for All.  “However, tackling the climate crisis must go hand in hand with tackling inequalities, creating a fairer and more sustainable Europe, which leaves no one behind“, he emphasized, calling for policies to buffer the potentially negative impacts on jobs and to promote sustainable new employment as well as the need to address inter-regional disparities and to foster social cohesion.

“Europe’s regions and cities are ready to implement innovative and place-based solutions, but we need a clear long-term roadmap and better targeted public funding at the EU and national levels if we want both a net zero emissions economy and to achieve UNʼs Sustainable Development Goals”, he added.

In his opinion, he makes a series of concrete requests, including:

  • making energy efficiency a priority in order to cut the emissions from the EU's building stock;
  • revising the 32% target for renewable energy at EU level in the light of technological developments with a view to reaching 40% by 2030 in order to achieve climate neutrality by 2050;
  • raising the overall EU climate budget spending target to at least 30% and fully implement the commitments made under the Paris Agreement;
  • introducing an effective “energy taxation” through appropriate pricing of fossil-based energy and emissions allowances;
  • supporting the transition of energy-intensive industries and vulnerable regions while limiting the social and environmental impacts;
  • ensuring a fair distribution of environmental costs and health, environmental and social benefits for people affected by the location of energy infrastructures;
  • mainstreaming climate neutrality, environmental sustainability and climate change adaptation in all EU funds and funding programs;
  • better involving cities and regions in setting up national climate and energy plans;
  • setting up a European climate neutrality observatory, aimed at mapping and monitoring the vulnerabilities of the different territories in this transition.



“We will continue to work and to put pressure on the other EU institutions to make sure they deliver on this”, Emiliano concluded.



Photo by:

Nagy Arnold