Europe: Time to Paris!

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

Climate_parents [JMacPherson / Flickr]

Today is the last European summit where EU leaders will meet before the Paris Agreement’s 5th birthday party, and there is still no agreement on the table to increase the EU’s contribution to the UN, write Parents for Future Germany.

The following open letter is authored by Parents for Future Germany, part of the For Future movement that focuses on making the climate strike movement intergenerational. Further signatories are at the bottom of the article.

Dear European Chancellors, Prime Ministers and Presidents,

We are European mothers and fathers writing to you because your homework is late.

The world is getting ready for the most important birthday ever, 5 years of the Paris Climate Agreement. For over a year, UN Secretary General Guterres has been calling for all countries to show up with an increased commitment and ambition to cut fossil fuels and other emissions down to zero as soon as humanly possible. Because that is what science says.

Great Britain will be hosting the 5 year birthday party on December 12th and will put the first present on the table, an enhanced Paris commitment. China came late to the party, but already announced a surprising – but still insufficient – big gift: The giant country with emissions greater than any other nation will cut its emissions by 2060 to zero and will peak before 2030 – a huge, and unexpected announcement that President Xi made at the UN General assembly last week. A provocative but clear message to the US and the world: No matter what will happen in the White House, China is still in to protect the climate.

And where is Europe in all this? Europe is lost. Europe is at high risk to show up empty handed at the birthday – without any serious decision. This week, October 15th, is the last European summit where everyone from Merkel to Macron to Orban will meet for the last time before the Paris Agreement’s birthday party, and no agreement is ready. Five years ago, the pledge in Paris was “In 5 years we will meet again to increase our commitments.” You knew what your homework was five years ago. You decided to do nothing.

Instead, you accuse our children of being too radical. They are demanding their right to a safe future, and an entirely reasonable government policy: How to get Europe to 1.5 degrees and fossil fuels to zero. Real zero. No buts, no ifs, no offsets – while respecting global climate justice. What is truly radical is to keep on burning fossil fuels when your job as leaders is to keep families, jobs, and coastal cities safe from a climate catastrophe.

You are failing our children, you are failing your citizens, you are failing Europe and the world.

That is why we have come to Brussels with this message: “Do your homework. Do what you were elected to do. Protect the people of Europe, and the world. Preserve this world for future generations. Do your job!”


  • Parents for Future Germany
  • Students for Future Germany
  • Parents for Future Denmark
  • Parents for Future Sweden
  • Parents for Future France
  • Unis Pour Le Climat
  • Madres por el Clima, España

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