EU drafts deal to upgrade 2030 climate change target next month

Bełchatów Power Station in Poland, which has said it needs more analysis into the financial impact of raising the 2030 reduction target [Ville Tanskanen / Flickr]

The European Union has drafted a deal aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, against 1990 levels, a target it hopes its 27 members will endorse at a summit next month.

If the 10-11 December EU leaders’ meeting approves the draft conclusions seen by Reuters, it could make the EU the first major economy to submit a new climate pledge under the 2015 United Nations Paris climate agreement, before a year-end deadline to do so.

The current 2030 target for EU members countries is a 40% cut in emissions from 1990 levels, already higher than the amount pledged by other big emitters such as China and the United States.

“The European Council endorses a binding EU target of a net reduction of at least 55% in domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990,” the draft said.

The bloc’s executive, the European Commission, proposed the target in September, saying anything less would fail to put the EU on track to reach net zero emissions by 2050 – a target it has already signed up to.

The UN climate science panel has said the world needs net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 to keep global temperature rises this century to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial times – the level required to avoid catastrophic climate change.

The document says the new 2030 target would be delivered “collectively” by EU countries – an assurance to countries concerned by the economic transformation that deeper emissions cuts will require.

That could soothe the Czech Republic, which has said it could support a 55% emissions cut if it is EU-wide, but not a national requirement.

The draft also says the target will reflect countries’ different national circumstances, and that upcoming reforms to the EU carbon market will make funds available to help poorer states invest in cleaner energy.

Coal dependent Poland has said it needs more analysis of the economic fallout before signing up to a tougher climate target, and last month called for EU carbon market reforms to redirect revenues to poorer countries.

EU ambassadors will discuss the draft later on Wednesday (25 November). They or their leaders can alter it up to and during the summit in a bid to bring all the countries on board.

[Edited by Benjamin Fox]

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