Combatting climate change is one of the main challenges of our time. It is a core objective of the EU’s environmental policy, but also plays into many different policy areas ranging from energy and industrial policy to finance, migration and international cooperation. The decisions taken by MEPs today will determine the EU’s ability to cope with substantial ongoing challenges: achieving a socially just and clean energy transition, making the European economy sustainable and adhering to the long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s largest coalition working on climate and energy issues. With over 130 member organisations in more than 30 European countries – representing over 44 million citizens – CAN Europe works to prevent dangerous climate change and promote sustainable climate and energy policy in Europe.

For the European Parliament elections in 2014, CAN Europe reached out to MEP candidates asking them to sign a pledge on climate action and show commitment to make climate action one of their top priorities during their term. A total of 450 candidates signed on to the pledge of which more than 70 MEPs from 25 different countries got elected or reelected.

By signing the pledge, the MEPs promised to support an urgency debate on climate action at the start of the European Parliament’s activities, make the support for climate action a prerequisite for any potential candidate of the European Commission and support an ambitious EP position on key climate and energy issues. Those are in particular the post-2020 climate and energy policy framework and the setting of ambitious and binding targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, renewable energy deployment and energy efficiency.

Additionally, CAN Europe conducted an assessment of the climate performance of the MEPs and political groups for the previous parliamentary term (2009-2014). Take a look at the results by political groups, the results for all individual MEPs by country, the methodology and a summary.

Conclusion on behalf of the EU of the Paris Agreement adopted under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Vote Breakdown








325 votes required to pass.

The Paris Agreement adopted by the UNFCCC parties in December 2015 sets the collective goal of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrialised levels whilst making efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees. The European Parliament’s consent to ratify the Agreement not only underlines the EU’s international commitment to take a lead on climate action, but also entails that the Union needs to reconsider and readjust its currently insufficient energy and climate instruments. (Votewatch data)

Key issues


On the EU level, there are mainly two instruments in place tackling the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions: the European emissions trading system (ETS) and the effort-sharing regulation (ESR).

The EU ETS, a cap and trade system of emission permits covering over 40% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions notably from energy utilities, manufacturing industry and aviation, has so far failed to generate a sufficiently high carbon price.

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Energy savings and renewable energy are the only viable solutions for decarbonising Europe’s energy system. MEPs are currently debating the European Commission’s proposals for renewables and energy savings in the ‘Clean Energy Package’ alongside the Council, through the ordinary legislative procedure. Once the Parliament’s positions are finalised through committee meetings and plenary votes, new regulations and directives will enter trilogue between the Commission, the Council and the Parliament.

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Finance and EU Budget

The Paris Agreement aims to make all financial flows consistent with a pathway towards low-emissions and climate-resilient development. Public financial flows in Europe must be shifted away from fossil fuels and emissions-intensive activities towards renewable energy and energy efficiency. This entails ending fossil fuel subsidies, “climate-proofing” the EU budget and making sure it catalyses the low carbon transition and that the EU’s financing facilities, policy tools and development banks undergo ambitious reforms.

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