• Contact Info
+32 (0) 2 62 60 72 7
+32 (0) 4 95 12 96 01
31 Rue Wiertz
B-1050 Brusselles Belgium

Greens and Young Greens at COP24: Austrian EU Presidency Has Failed On All Fronts

While young people all over Europe are demanding climate action through school strikes, civil disobedience and mass demonstrations, the European Union seems to have difficulties to lead on climate action.

The UN Climate Conference should come to a final decision within the next hours. The Greens/EFA MEPs Thomas Waitz and Florent Marcellesi present at COP24 call on the Austrian EU Presidency to double efforts to get to an ambitious outcome. So far, the Presidency failed completely when it comes to climate protection - in Katowice as well as in Brussels, says green MEP Thomas Waitz from Austria:

"It is not really helpful when in the middle of the Climate negotiations, the Austrian Vice Prime Minister denies man made climate change. This shows the harm- and shameful ideology of this new government, when it comes to climate change.”

The Austrian government should lead by example and declare in Katowice that they will contribute at least 100 Million Euro to the Green Climate Fund.

The Austrian Presidency failed on all fronts when it comes to bring European climate legislation forward: The negotiations on CO2 standards for cars are still stuck because the presidency is not doing its job. The negotiations on market design failed because Austria wanted to prolong coal subsidies far beyond 2025.

Waitz: “It's good that the Austrian government finally signed the high ambition coalition statement but this commitment can only be taken seriously if the government adjusts the national climate plan. Austria will never fulfil the Paris agreement if we don't agree to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030."

Spanish Green MEP Florent Marcellesi who is responsible for the Market Design Directive for the Greens/EFA group, adds: "As COP24 is coming to an end, parallel negotiations on the Electricity Market Design are still ongoing. The Council of European Ministers is stuck in a position that would allow subsidies to coal at least until 2035 through capacity mechanisms. This position is unacceptable by the European Parliament and threatens to undermine the credibility of the EU in the climate negotiations, since it is not Paris compatible. After Trump leaving the Paris Agreement, it is time for the EU to lead the global climate protection. Therefore, most of EU member states must show their ambition during the Electricity Market Design trilogue and ensure that EU’s climate policies rely on the common interest of the Union, and not on particular interests of a minority led by coal lobbies and the Polish Government. We call the Austrian Presidency to listen to the majority of Member States and be Paris compatible."

FYEG Delegate Kim van Sparrentak adds: “While young people all over Europe demand strong climate action, it seems that the EU is mainly focused on talking about strong climate ambitions, rather than leading the way forward. The Austrian EU presidency advised young people to communicate about climate change on social media. They are not taking us seriously. The European Union has to lead now, stop funding coal, go beyond asking for ambitions and finally start acting to ensure we can achieve the 1,5 degrees threshold.”