Our petition to EU leaders

11,012 signatures gathered

Background information

Text of the petition:

Act NOW on the climate and ecological emergency!

We, EU staff, call on you the incoming leaders of the EU institutions to declare a planetary emergency and do all in your power to stop the impending climate and ecological disaster. We take seriously the multiple warnings issued by the international scientific community and share the concerns expressed by young people in the streets and in recent elections.

Humanity has 10 years — only two EU policy cycles — to reverse global warming and bring the planet back to a safe operating space for this generation and those to come [IPCC, Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C, 2018]. Human activity has already caused global warming of 1.0°C since the pre-industrial period and nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history, eroding the very foundations of our economies, livlihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide. [IPBES, Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, 2019]. We are currently on a track towards at least 3°C-4°C by the end of this century, and this assumes that all countries meet their commitments [IPCC, Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C, 2018]. Already by 2030, we may exceed 1.5°C, a threshold scientists see as already very disruptive for people, economies and ecosystems [IPCC, Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C, 2018]. The UN points to ‘an enormous gap between what we need to do and what we’re actually doing to prevent dangerous levels of climate change’ [UNEP, Emissions Gap Report, 2018].

All of us with a duty to act in the public interest have the responsibility to help save the planet as a liveable space. There is little time left. We need to make unprecedented changes across all aspects of life. We as citizens are committed in our individual lives to make that change, but greater change is necessary.

In its short history, the European Union has been a visionary project and an example for the rest of the world. The European project has delivered lasting peace in a region historically characterised by bloody conflicts. With the same sense of purpose, leading the fight against the planetary crisis ought to drive the European project for the next decade.

We therefore ask the incoming leaders of the EU institutions to:

1 Recognise the greatest challenge of our times: declare a planetary emergency and make it the overarching priority of the EU’s agenda for the next five years. No objective should be pursued to the detriment of the planet. Economic prosperity must not lead to the destruction of the planet’s liveable space and ecosystem.

2 Put in place special EU inter-institutional arrangements to address the emergency: establish a mechanism at the highest level of all EU institutions to orient and prioritise actions and a Commission Task Force to implement them. Fast-tracked procedures must be introduced to tackle the urgency we face.

3 Engage citizens in a broad democratic debate across the EU about the collective changes needed and how best to achieve the transition to them. Society must become our best ally if we want to change our energy mix, consumption patterns and economic model. Above all, we need to give a voice to those who have most at stake: young people.

4 Start reducing EU greenhouse gas emissions sharply. Europe’s historical responsibility and current consumption require a 10% reduction in its emissions every year from 2020 to 2030 [According to UNEP (ibid.) the reduction required worldwide is of a magnitude of 8% per year.  Europe has a responsibility to do substantially better than this because of its historical emissions and current consumption]. Establish an open and transparent monitoring system. Tackle the worst climate polluters in industry, agriculture, transport and society, make businesses and financial institutions truly accountable and protect the interests of the most vulnerable. Phase out coal completely by 2025 and drastically reduce other fossil fuels by 2030.

5 Ensure the coherence of all EU policies for a fair transition to a sustainable and carbon-neutral society and economy where emissions are drastically reduced, carbon sinks are increased and ecosystems restored and protected. The common agricultural policy, EU structural and investment funds, research and innovation programmes and all other spending programmes under the 2021-2027 EU budget must meet these goals. No EU policies or funding should pull in the opposite direction.

6 Leverage the EU’s weight in the world to lead the global fight against climate change and ecosystem destruction. Our trade and development policies need to become tools for fighting and adapting to the climate crisis. Despite the EU’s global leadership, international climate conferences and agreements have not been enough to stop the relentless increase in worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

7 Lead by example: Make the EU institutions’ operations carbon neutral by 2030. Target in particular buildings, business travel, catering, meetings, procurement and local mobility.

As EU civil servants, we are committed to pursuing the common good and delivering sound public policies for EU citizens. We cannot close our eyes to the planetary emergency as the single most serious threat to the future of Europe and the world. Whatever our roles and tasks in the EU institutions, we stand ready to work with you as leaders to achieve those goals together, for the good of the planet and its people.

Read more about the petition, its systemic context and the science that supports it
here (7-page briefing paper setting out facts and figures) and here (116-page discussion paper).

Petition launched 20 June 2019 and closed on 20 January 2020.

Global Strike for Climate, Brussels, 24 May 2019

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