EU Climate Law: The Lowdown on Adaptation

ACT Alliance EU Press reaction




Today the EU set a new standard for climate policy governance and implementation.

Whilst this is laudable, what was needed was ambition and a commitment to leave behind the days of aiming for the lowest common denominator.


Instead the new EU Climate Law stops short of enabling short-term EU ambition to be increased on par with the most recent science. The measure to allow for ambition increases only starts in 2030. What’s more, waiting until September at the latest to present an updated EU emissions reduction target falls out of the scope of acting on a climate emergency.


These measures are much too little, too late, especially since global emissions needed to peak this year [1]. Especially in light of the call by 34 youth activists, including Greta Thunberg on 3 March to not surrender the future of future generations through a weak EU Climate Law or weak EU climate policies [2].


“Tackling the climate emergency means committing to reducing emissions in line with the recommendations of the latest UNEP Emission Gap Report, which calls for the EU to reduce its emissions by 67% by 2030” [3] says Floris Faber, ACT Alliance EU Head of Office.


A step in the right direction is that EU Member States must now develop and implement adaptation strategies.


“For too long adaptation has ranked second compared to mitigation, which in turn has left a lot of communities vulnerable to climate impacts” says Faber.


“There are clear benefits to adapting, including strengthened food and water security, conserved nature and biodiversity and resilient communities” says Leia Achampong, Climate Justice Policy Officer.


EU countries must ensure that cities, regions and communities start feeling the impact of robust climate policies and ensure that no community is left behind. This means developing plans that incentivise more climate resilient cities, climate resilient infrastructure and strengthened domestic services.


“The EU must also think about how to support developing countries in the global south to implement their adaptation measures, including through finance, technology transfer and capacity building” says Faber.


This also means strengthening the EU’s external climate change policies and instruments e.g. EU Climate Diplomacy plans, in order to help ensure that the EU Adaptation Strategy and EU Countries’ adaptation strategies are created in the context of global equity.


“If the EU is to show solidarity with developing countries in the Global South then it must also do more to curb its own contribution to climate change, including via climate adaptation” continues Achampong.





Leia Achampong, Policy Officer, Climate Justice, ACT Alliance EU: +32 466 36 50 87.


Notes to the press:

ACT Alliance EU is a network of faith-based development agencies from across Europe, working in the pursuit of justice, peace and the eradication of global poverty. ACT Alliance EU is a part of the global alliance, ACT Alliance, which consists of more than 155 churches and related organisations working together in over 140 countries.


Relevant documents:

EU Climate Law:



[1] WRI, Tracking Progress of the Climate Turning Point (2019).

[2] Carbon Brief (2020). Climate strikers: Open letter to EU leaders on why their new climate law is ‘surrender’

[3] UNEP Emissions Gap Report (2019).