European leaders take climate agenda on a road trip

The Juncker administration said that, with the U.S. stepping back from the Paris climate deal, it will be Europe that takes up the mantle on climate change.

By Daniel J. Graeber
European commissioners take climate message from President Jean-Claude Juncker on the road. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
European commissioners take climate message from President Jean-Claude Juncker on the road. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

June 15 (UPI) -- From internal efforts to outreach in the civil aviation sector, the European Commission said the bloc is putting its climate leadership on display.

The European Commission outlined schedules Friday for upcoming climate events. Next week, Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete heads to Berlin for a ninth annual climate summit hosted jointly by the German and Polish governments.


On the sidelines, Cañete will meet with China's envoy for climate change, Xie Zhenhua to discuss efforts behind the Paris climate deal. China has moved toward a greener economy as it focuses more on sustainable growth models.

Later, the European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc heads to Montreal for a meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

"Like in 2016, the European Union and its member states will be advocating for the most ambitious outcome and the most robust global scheme," the commission's agenda statement read. "This is in line with the EU's commitments under the Paris agreement and with the ambition of this commission to consolidate Europe's global leadership in the fight against climate change."

A Norwegian report last year found that electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles could potentially account for 90 percent of the passenger vehicles on the road by 2050, but the aviation and maritime transport sectors will still rely heavily on the conventional fuels that attribute to climate issues.


The itinerary comes one day after the commission said it was setting a new bar for renewable energy use with a 32 percent target for 2030, with an additional consideration for further revisions in 2023. A directive from 2009 set a binding target of 20 percent final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

The commission said this step puts more strength behind European President Jean-Claude Juncker's ambition for Europe to become the world leader in renewable energy use. Juncker has said that, with U.S. President Donald Trump charting a way out of the Paris climate agreement, it would be Europe that set the rules of the game in the fight against climate change.

Eurostat, the record-keeping office for the European community, reported total carbon dioxide emissions for the European Union increased 1.8 percent last year. Malta reported the largest increase from 2016 with 12.8 percent, while Finland had the largest decline with 5.9 percent.

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