Four emerging European countries (the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Poland) have vetoed a landmark climate action plan that would have made the European Union carbon neutral by 2050.
The action plan would have allowed the EU to put in place the conditions, incentives and enabling framework to ensure a transition to a climate-neutral EU by 2050. The plan would have preserved European competitiveness while taking into account the circumstances of individual states, respecting their right to decide on their own energy mix.
Instead of the action plan, the EU merely agreed to a statement in which the majority of member states commit themselves to reaching zero emissions by 2050.
According to Politico Europe, it was the Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, who took the lead in opposing 2050 as the target year, fearing that it will have strongly negative effects on the Polish economy.
“We [first] need to get very concrete conditions on potential compensation mechanisms. (…) A wording on just and responsible energy transformation is not enough for us,” the Polish PM told reporters before the summit on June 20.
Andrej Babiš, the Czech prime minister, said that Europe should not aim for such radical goals until other world powers – such as China – do likewise.
The veto is set to cause further trouble as it means the EU will not have a prepared strategy in line with the Paris Agreement ahead of the UN Climate Summit in September. Greenpeace EU and Climate Action Network Europe have called on the bloc to organise an emergency summit before the UN meeting.
The failure of the European heads of state or government to broker the deal comes after some countries, which eventually rejected the agreement, had showed willingness to sign it.
“One of the Hungarian climate policy goals is to make Hungary carbon-neutral by 2050,” Hungarian innovation and technology minister László Palkovics said on June 17, only three days before the EU Council meeting.