BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union government leaders declined on Friday to set tougher targets for fighting climate change, dashing hopes they would inject momentum into a United Nations climate conference in Chile in December.
At a two-day EU summit in Brussels, which was largely dominated by Brexit, discussion on climate was relegated to the last agenda item and took less than 15 minutes.
“The existential threat posed by climate change requires enhanced ambition and increased climate action by the EU and at global level,” read the final statement by the leaders.
The bloc aimed to “finalize its guidance on the EU’s long-term strategy on climate change at its December meeting.”
That means the EU will not bring more ambitious climate change-fighting objectives to the U.N. gathering in Santiago on Dec. 2-13, part of a process to check signatories’ progress toward implementing the 2015 Paris accords.
Beyond the cautious wording of Friday’s EU communique lurks deep divisions over climate strategy within the 28-nation bloc, whose standing goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.