European members of the Under2 Coalition call on EU states to prioritise green recovery

Reading time: 4 minutes
10 July 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Europe and the wider world, and its effects will be felt for years to come. As we move from dealing with an immediate health crisis to facing its ensuing economic challenges, it is crucial we do so in a sustainable and resilient way. We already have the solutions to adapt to, and mitigate the effects of climate change and it is vital that we now apply these solutions as we look to recover better.

In Europe Under2 Coalition regions represent 180.5 million citizens and regions with a combined GDP of over 6 trillion Euros. As members of this Coalition we welcome the European Commission’s leadership in placing the objectives of the European Green Deal at the heart of its bold recovery package.

Research shows that each $1 million (over €885,000) of investment shifted from brown to green energy will result in a net increase of 5 jobs. Therefore we firmly believe that the European Green Deal can act as the growth strategy of Europe: building a resource-efficient, resilient European economy and ensuring stability and prosperity for future generations.

We also welcome additional resources allocated to the Just Transition Fund, to support a transition to clean energy and to help workers and regions that are currently dependent on high-carbon industries. It is vital that such funds are now allocated to those who propose a Paris-compatible phase out plan for fossil fuels to accelerate the phase in of renewable energy.

However, we cannot afford to be complacent, because it is clear our task is only just beginning: the hard work starts now to make our society and our planet healthier.

We call on EU Member States to:

  • Increase the EU’s 2030 target for greenhouse gas emission reductions to at least -50% and towards -55% compared to 1990 levels
  • Support the EU Next Generation Recovery package also to strengthen the European Green Deal
  • Take ambitious national actions to align economic decisions with the climate neutrality target and invest in net-zero emissions innovation and solutions that create new jobs
  • Ensure all investments are guided by the EU sustainable finance taxonomy and make finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development
  • Remove barriers to allow the growth of renewable energy technologies and a carbon neutral mobility
  • Double the annual renovation rate for existing building stock to accelerate a reduction in emissions across the construction sector, which has a key role to play in economic recovery
  • Support subnational governments in their efforts to reach their emission reduction targets

As European regions of the Under2 Coalition, we are focusing our efforts on keeping global temperature rises to 1.5 °C while delivering thriving economies and greater prosperity for all. We are aware however that profound and urgent changes are needed now if we are to halve emissions in a decade which is crucial to reach climate neutrality in 2050.

We therefore urge EU Member States to join us in prioritising green recovery not just to support economies, but to set us on a path to climate neutrality. As Under2 Coalition members we are already committed to reducing our emissions by at least 80% by 2050, and we are shifting to climate neutrality strategies, reporting annually our climate targets and actions, and implementing regional policies to cut emissions in the transport, industry, waste and buildings sectors among others.

Profound and urgent change is needed now to reach climate neutrality in 2050. We have many of the technological solutions at our disposal now to invest in the sustainable economy of the future – we need to work together to realise their potential.


Signed by the following Governors and Ministers of the Under2 Coalition:
  • Anja Siegesmund, Minister for the Environment, Energy and Nature Conservation of the Free State of Thuringia 
  • Damià Calvet, Minister of Territory and Sustainability for Catalonia 
  • Ms Elly Schlein, Vice-President of Emilia-Romagna  
  • Franz Untersteller, Minister of the Environment, Climate and the Energy Sector for Baden-Württemberg 
  • Ignacio Arriola, Minister of Environment, Territorial Planning and Housing for Basque Country 
  • Itziar Gómez López, Regional Minister of Rural Development and the Environment for Navarra 
  • Jeannette Baljeu, Minister of Industry, EU and International Affairs for Zuid-Holland 
  • Lesley Griffiths, Minister of Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs for Wales 
  • Nicola Campitelli, Minister of Urban Planning and Territory, Maritime Domain, Landscapes, Energy and Waste for Abruzzo 
  • Philippe Henry, Vice-President and Minister of Climate, Energy and Mobility for Wallonia 
  • Raffaele Cattaneo, Minister of Environment and Climate Change for Lombardy 
  • Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Scottish Government
  • Susana Luísa Rodrigues Nascimento Prada, Regional Secretary of Environment, Nature Resources and Climate Change for Madeira Island
    Share
    Facebook icon
    Twitter icon
    LinkedIn icon
    e-mail icon
    Google icon