In a special event hosted by ECFR today, 19 November at 16.00 CET, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres will call on Europe to lead by example on climate change. In the run up to the 12 December Climate Ambition Summit co-hosted by the UN, UK, and France; and with just under a year to go until COP26 in Glasgow, the Secretary-General is expected to stress that the encouraging signs of a rising “net zero emissions coalition” – including  recent announcements from several major emitters including the EU, Japan, China and  Republic of Korea – must be backed up with strong and concrete short-term measures and will urge the EU to present its more ambitious climate plan, including committing to reducing emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030, in time for the Climate Ambition Summit 2020 on December 12.

In response to his remarks, four ministers from four EU member states will outline their governments’ priorities. The panel will explore how, through providing global leadership, the EU can establish standards, maintain technological leadership, and set an example of combining emissions reductions with maintaining prosperity and delivering on sustainable growth. They include:

•  Ann Linde, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sweden
•  Michał Kurtyka, Minister of Climate and Environment, Poland
•  Barbara Pompili, Minister of Ecological Transition, France
•  Andreas Feicht, State Secretary, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany

The event will be streamed live on ECFR’s home page.

In his address, the Secretary-General is expected to clearly ask the EU to continue and boost its climate leadership and will lay out a range of substantive calls-to-action on key issues – both in the near-term as covid response and recovery measures take shape, and in the longer-term – including:

•  phasing-out coal and fossil fuels
•  climate finance
•  resilience and adaption

This speech will follow keynote climate speeches the Secretary-General has given in China, India and Japan in recent months.

Leading ECFR’s European Power programme and climate work, Susi Dennison has said:

“The European Green Deal has drawn attention both at home in Europe and internationally. ECFR’s public opinion surveys in 2020 show that in every member state support for more attention to be paid to tackling climate change has grown this year – with those who have grown more supportive through the corona crisis outstripping those who are less so in every country covered. But the implementation beneath the high-level promises is the tricky part. As many parts of the EU head into a punishing recession, and the pandemic continues to overload European healthcare systems, keeping emissions reductions and investments in green technology development on the top of the agenda will require constant vigilance from EU leaders as we head to COP26.”

Speaking to ECFR’s upcoming work on China and climate, Janka Oertel, director of ECFR’s Asia programme has stated:

“Beijing has now pledged a clear target for decarbonizing its economy. If followed through, this will be one of the most important individual contributions to tackling climate change and will create momentum for ambitious action worldwide. At the same time, it will also exert pressure on Europe to remain able to compete in the global economy of the future, including on green technologies and standard setting. Just because economies will become greener, Europe’s existing grievances with regard to China’s market-distorting practices will not magically disappear, they may even become more pronounced.”

The event will be streamed live on ECFR’s home page.

About ECFR’s climate work:

ECFR is working on a series of climate-related research and analysis, with topics including shaping the future of Europe’s climate policy in light of the enhanced systemic rivalry with China; geopolitics of the Green Deal; North Africa and the European Green Deal; and mapping the national politics around the green deal and resilient recovery across the 27 EU member states. More details will be available and shared with the press within the next days and in the following weeks. 
All policy briefs, commentaries, events, and other products will be available on ECFR’s website 

The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. This report, like all publications of the European Council on Foreign Relations, represents only the views of its author. 

Über European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)

The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) is a pan-European think-tank that aims to conduct cutting-edge independent research in pursuit of a coherent, effective, and values-based European foreign policy. With a network of offices in seven European capitals, over 60 staff from more than 25 different countries and a team of associated researchers in the EU 27 member states, ECFR is uniquely placed to provide pan-European perspectives on the biggest strategic challenges and choices confronting Europeans today. ECFR is an independent charity and funded from a variety of sources. For more details, please visit:

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