The countries of the European Union are calling for a global end to the use of polluting coal energy and the end of fossil fuel subsidies, as the bloc makes climate change a central part of its foreign policy, the draft document says.
The statement, which EU ministers intend to finalize on Monday, will focus on an aggressive line of climate diplomacy – dissuading other countries from investing in fossil fuels and forging “ambitious” alliances with major economies to accelerate emission reductions.
Countries including China, Japan and South Africa have pledged to ultimately cut their net carbon emissions to zero – a commitment that US President Joe Biden also made during his campaign.
But the EU is one of the few large economies to translate their long-term climate goals into urgent action this decade. Globally, countries’ current plans will not cut emissions fast enough to prevent catastrophic climate change.
“The EU is calling for a global phase-out of environmentally harmful fossil fuel subsidies within a clear time frame,” the draft document says. “Including phasing out coal in power generation and – as a first step – immediately ending all funding for new coal infrastructure.”
“EU energy diplomacy will discourage further investment in fossil fuel infrastructure projects in third countries unless they are fully aligned with an ambitious, well-defined path to climate neutrality,” the document says, referring to non-EU states.
The draft may be amended before ministerial approval.
Last month, EU countries agreed to cut emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels by 2030. As it seeks trillions of euros in investment to achieve this goal, the bloc plans to use its economic and diplomatic weight to encourage other countries to follow suit.
The draft states that future EU trade deals must match its climate ambitions.
Wendel Trio, director of the Climate Action Network Europe coalition of nongovernmental organizations, welcomed the plan, but said the EU also needs to “completely eliminate fossil fuel subsidies” at home.
Of the 159 billion euros spent by EU countries on energy subsidies in 2018, almost a third went to fossil fuels.