The EU’s plans to hit net-zero emissions by 2050 were condemned as “surrender” in the climate fight and “nowhere near enough” by a high-profile list of activists and celebrities including Greta Thunberg and Leonardo Di Caprio.

They were among a lengthy list of signatories to a call for the bloc to start treating the climate issue “like an emergency”, claiming its current approach falls well short in key areas, including being based on a carbon budget “that only gives a 50% chance of limiting the global heating below 1.5°C.”

The letter, sent under the social media hashtag #FaceTheClimateEmergency, wants Brussels to dramatically accelerate its approach by immediately halting all fossil fuel subsidies and investments, with the current plans for 2050 net-zero said to “equal surrender”.

“The EU should also establish annual, binding carbon budgets based on the current best available science and the IPCC’s budget which gives us a 66% chance of limiting the global temperature rise to below 1.5 °C.”

The writers add: “When you signed the Paris Agreement the EU nations committed to leading the way. The EU has the economic and political possibility to do so, therefore it is our moral responsibility. And now you need to actually deliver on your promises.”

The letter comes soon after the EU set out wide-ranging plans for reaching its net-zero goal, including its hydrogen strategy and the Energy Integration Strategy that maps how countries can decarbonise all their energy use — from electricity, heat, transport and heavy industry — within 30 years.

A Recharge special report published on Thursday takes the most comprehensive look so far at the Energy Integration Strategy and its huge implications for policy, technology and infrastructure within the 27-nation bloc.