We have arrived at a critical juncture when it comes to our climate and the environment. The planet is on track towards a temperature increase of 2.9C compared to pre-industrial levels, with Europe warming even faster, and we are seeing high levels of environmental pollution and degradation.

At the same time, the European Union has seen significant progress on many fronts in the last few decades and especially in the last few years. In December 2019, just months after the last European elections, the European Commission launched the European Green Deal—a revolutionary set of laws and policies that put the EU on a path towards becoming the first net-zero continent by 2050. It is safe to say that without such EU laws and EU funding, we would have been much further away from ensuring our planet remains, at the very least, inhabitable beyond this century.

Despite the significant steps forward, however, the EU is still far from where it needs to be. The EU must urgently take more ambitious action to achieve our goals and our commitments—and it must do so in a way that will benefit all citizens, including the most vulnerable groups.

The upcoming 2024 European elections present a unique opportunity for all of us, as EU citizens, to push for this action and to elect those decision-makers who understand the urgency of the current situation and who will be open to listen to our demands.

This report shows the instrumental role the European Union has played in driving positive change in 10 areas of environmental policy—from nature restoration and conservation, through emission-free electric vehicles, to supporting individuals in energy poverty. It also highlights why change was necessary in the first place and, crucially, what the EU must do to bring us closer to a net-zero, zero-pollution and socially just future.

This report has been commissioned by BirdLife Europe, Climate Action Network Europe, European Environmental Bureau, Transport & Environment and WWF European Policy Office to provide an overview of green EU action in the past five years and the impacts it has on a national and regional level in the 27 member states. It has been produced by Shared Planet and FIPRA International, with additional input from relevant teams from each of the five organisations.

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