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Paris, France (UPDATED) – Over 100 civil society groups on Monday expressed alarm at attacks on green policies in Europe as key elections loom, and urged leaders to “stop before it is too late”.

European parliament elections are in early June and a key battleground has been the EU’s Green Deal, an ambitious commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The plan has come under fire from the fossil fuel industry and the agricultural sector — but also political parties on the right and far right among the 27-nation bloc.

In an open letter, dozens of civil society organisations said they were “horrified that so many politicians across Europe are threatening the basis of life on this planet” to win votes.

“Despite the growing evidence of looming ecological collapse and the alarming acceleration of the climate crisis, European governments and EU politicians are currently blocking new measures to protect nature and tearing up ones already in place,” the letter stated.

Europe’s right wing parties have promised to cancel a 2035 target to phase out sales of new petrol-driven cars, while candidates have backed farmer protests against the Green Deal in several countries.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has fended off attacks not just from the right but the left, who accuse her of watering down key measures.

In the letter, activists accused EU politicians and governments of scapegoating climate action “while doing nothing” to address farmer concerns or economic inequality.

EU rules to combat deforestation, reduce industrial pollution and pesticide use, and shore up water supply were all under threat, the letter said.

“And all this as an opportunistic attempt to gather a few more votes in the upcoming elections,” wrote the signatories including Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam and dozens of other groups.

“We urge you to stop before it is too late.”


© Agence France-Presse

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