THE National today joins media outlets across Europe to publish a landmark call for action against climate change.

Platforms in 16 European Union states will use 13 languages to run a plea for systematic change on pollution, efficiency and financial regimes in order to combat “the still-worsening triple crisis of climate change, mass extinction and inequality”.

READ MORE: Europe must prioritise sustainability and wellbeing over growth

Signed by planners, ecologists, energy experts and other scientific and expert voices from academia, civil society and city governments, it calls for a pan-European “sustainability and wellbeing pact” in order to secure coordinate responses.

Published as Europe prepares to go to the polls, it aims to make tackling climate change the central issue and show that the threat from rising global temperatures unites the public across borders.

Around 200 individuals from Germany, Ireland, Poland, Croatia, Finland and more have signed.

Halliki Kreinin, of the Institute for Ecological Economics in Austria, told The National: “Since inequality is especially stark in Scotland and the UK compared to the rest of Europe, I think the key message of the letter is even more important – tackle the climate crisis and inequality together and put the wellbeing of people ahead of economic growth.

“More economic growth at the expense of the environment and society is not what Scotland, the would-be 14th richest country in the world, needs. A fairer distribution of wealth and a focus on wellbeing, both social and environmental, should be at the heart of Scottish politics on every level of governance.

“EU-wide action, cross-EU solidarity, and common policies are needed because no country can take independent climate action without retribution from our globalised economic system. We have to make these European elections count.”

Yesterday eight European countries – Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden – issued a joint statement calling for 25% of the Brussels budget to be used to fight climate change. The group wants the bloc to set a net-zero target for greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 “at the latest” and says this need not interfere with prosperity.

A major summit of European leaders will begin in Sibiu, Romania, today, with a five-year strategy to be decided.

The Scottish Government aims to hit “net-zero” by 2045, and has lodged changes to legislation in accordance. However, it concedes that this depends on the UK Government also acting on recommendations delivered by the independent UK Climate Change Committee.

Published today, the academics’ letter claims the public backs meaningful change and asserts that the international Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit temperature change, is not capable of dealing with the “existential threats” of climate change, mass extinction and inequality.

It says: “Deep changes are not only needed, but also wanted. A recent and massive poll taken all over Europe showed that a majority of Europeans now consider that the environment should be a priority even at the expense of growth.”

It continues: “Prosperity without growth is possible. Growth by over-exploitation of resources, safety shortcuts and pollution drive both people and planet to burnouts.”

Lisa Hough-Stewart, of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, said: “The First Minister said just last week that the limitations of GDP have become increasingly clear and that Scotland champions a broader understanding of economic success, and we look forward to seeing more policy decisions based on these principles. It’s time now for the EU as a whole to head down the same path.”