BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A push by most European Union nations for the world’s biggest economic bloc to go carbon-neutral by 2050 was dropped to a footnote at a summit on Thursday after fierce resistance from Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Try as they might, the sanity of the minority prevailed.
France and Germany had led efforts for the 28-member EU to lead by example in setting an ambitious new climate goal ahead of U.N. climate talks in September that U.S. President Donald Trump has abandoned.
But unanimity was needed, and last-ditch persuasion efforts in what diplomats described as “impassioned” talks that dragged on for four hours failed to ease fears among the central and eastern European states, including Estonia, that it would hurt economies like theirs dependent on nuclear power and coal.
And we see the operation and results of building a self-reinforcing propaganda chamber.
Addressing the holdouts during the summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pointed to months of climate protests by youths that helped propel Green parties to their strongest showing yet in May’s European Parliament elections.
Macron said after the summit that the growing support of EU countries for the 2050 target – from four in March to 24 on Thursday – showed the credibility of the EU’s engagement with the Paris accord.