For the deal to have passed, member states needed to all agree in complete unity, but four countries blocked the proposal.
Rabat – The leaders of the European Union (EU) failed to reach an agreement and commit to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 at a European Council summit on Thursday, June 21.
Even though a measly eight countries out of 28 committed to the target at the last summit in March, global protests worldwide advocating for the environment raised hopes that the number would increase.
For the deal to have passed, member states needed to all agree in complete unity, but four countries- Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Hungary – blocked the proposal, meaning the 2050 goal was not included in the EU’s strategic agenda for 2019-2024.
The four countries reportedly blocked the proposal for fear it would hurt their economies, which depend on nuclear power and coal.
“Poland … must first have very detailed compensation packages. We must know how much we can get for modernization,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters in Brussels following the summit.
The proposed deal would have seen the EU commit to a net zero carbon footprint by 2050 by either reducing emissions from transport, homes, and industrial or other economic activity, or offsetting emissions with projects aimed at soaking up CO2.
Although the EU dropped the 2050 goal, the 28 member states reinforced their commitment to the 2016 Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The council also pledged to “scale up the mobilization of international climate finance from a wide variety of private and public sources and to working towards a timely, well-managed and successful replenishment process for the Green Climate Fund.”
The EU Council’s failure to strike a deal comes amid worldwide marches advocating for global change in order to prevent climate change. In March, Youth for Climate called for students in over 100 countries to go on “strike,” leaving their school desks behind to instead take to the streets. Tens of thousands of students worldwide participated.