EGU urges Europe to commit to a green economic recovery plan post pandemic
13 July 2020
Despite daily global emissions of carbon dioxide falling by an average of about 17% in early April during COVID-19 confinement, this year’s annual emissions are only expected to drop between 4% and 7% compared with 2019. While significant, this difference does not represent systematic change. The long-term prognosis remains bleak: the highest-ever monthly level of atmospheric carbon dioxide, 417.2 parts per million, was recorded in May at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory.
Significant and systemic change is needed to maintain global warming below the 1.5°C threshold necessary to prevent climate change’s most dramatic effects and reduce the impact of human activities on the environment. As humanity emerges from COVID-19, we have a unique opportunity to shift our economies towards carbon neutrality and create a healthier environment for all.
To date, at least $9 tn has been committed to a post-pandemic economic recovery, and the European Commission is proposing €750 bn as part of the Next Generation EU budget. How these investments are structured will play a key role in determining Earth’s future climate. With appropriate investments in climate mitigation strategies, environmental protection, and additional science-based research and innovations, the EU’s economic stimulus package can make a timely and fundamental difference to our ability to keep planetary support systems within the limits necessary for humans to prosper.
The European Geosciences Union (EGU) encourages the European Council and the European Parliament to embrace the European Green Deal’s goals while finalising the 2021-2027 budget. We also invite decision-makers to engage with the geosciences community to set evidence-based targets to achieve a just and science-based future as Europe emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. The EGU likewise urges all EU policymakers to continue to follow the timetable of the Paris Agreement despite the postponement of the United Nations’ COP26 climate summit.
European Union decision-makers, working in collaboration with the global geoscience community and other experts, have a rare opportunity to strengthen Europe’s commitment to a green future and to encourage other nations to do the same.