System change or bust

4 December 2019

Europe's 'state of the environment' report

System change: Europe’s environmental and climate warning signals are flashing red according to a comprehensive ‘State of the Environment’ survey published by the European Environment Agency (EEA). Friends of the Earth Europe has responded with a call for EU President von der Leyen’s new European Commission to put environment, climate, and justice first in every single decision, and for next week’s ‘European Green Deal’ to fundamentally transform Europe’s unjust economy.

Jagoda Munić, Director, Friends of the Earth Europe said:

“Europe’s environmental and climate warning signals are flashing red. We must pull the emergency brake on this runaway train to ecological and climate breakdown – it’s now or never. Banning plastic straws and nudging renewable energy targets is no longer enough – only the boldest action to transform our consumption- and growth-obsessed economy will do.

“In next week’s European Green Deal, new European Commission President von der Leyen will set the tone – every single decision she now takes must put environment, climate, and justice first – there is no alternative but to rapidly phase out all fossil fuels and pollution, abandon failed market mechanisms, cap our use of resources, and restore nature.”

Warning signals flashing red

Adding to citizen and scientist demands for transformational action to protect Europe’s environment, the European Environment Agency warns:

  • Europe faces environmental challenges of unprecedented scale and urgency;
  • Only six out of the EEA’s 35 indicators are on track – most of the EU's 2020 targets for environment will be missed: including energy savings, air, water and soil pollution, chemical pollution, and species and habitats protection;
  • Europe will not achieve its sustainability vision by continuing to promote economic growth;
  • The current rate of progress will not be enough to meet 2030 and 2050 climate and energy targets;
  • Fundamental change is needed in our key systems of production and consumption.

Green deal for Europe

In the European Green Deal, Friends of the Earth Europe is calling for transformational action to:

  • Remove corporate influence from decision making, especially from fossil fuel companies;
  • Rapidly phase out all fossil fuels, including gas, in line with the EU’s fair share of global action;
  • Put in place targets for zero biodiversity loss, zero pollution, and for restoration of natural habitats such as wetlands, forest and grasslands;
  • Phase out synthetic pesticides and switch subsidies for farmers away from industrial farming and towards agroecology;
  • Set targets to reduce Europe’s absolute resource use;
  • Steeply increase binding 2030 targets for renewable energy and energy savings, with five year plans to meet them;
  • Provide new and transparent funding to help communities, workers, and low-income people to transition.