European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced plans to target at least a 55% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 as part of a broader European Green Deal programme aimed at reaching “climate neutrality” by mid-century.
“For us, the 2030 target is ambitious, it’s achievable and it is beneficial for Europe,” von der Leyen said as she unveiled the EU’s new climate proposal. The difference today, she said, is that “Europe now has the technology, the expertise and the financial firepower necessary to make it happen, with a €1.8 trillion EU budget and recovery fund that was agreed by EU leaders in July for the years 2021-2027”.
But the European Parliament voted in October for an even greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade – 60%. This decision divided the hemicycle. While green MEPs and environmental campaigners hailed the vote as a victory in the fight against climate change, other lawmakers consider the 60% goal “overambitious” and called on EU member states to back the European Commission’s initial proposal for a 55% cut instead, saying this target was more “realistic”.
Lawmakers also voted in favour of proposals ensuring that each EU Member State reaches climate neutrality individually by 2050. The alternative would have seen some EU countries allowed to overshoot the 2050 target provided that others meet it early.
Meanwhile, the Council has not yet decided its position. As the Commission is amending its initial proposal with the new target, the decision was declined at European Council level where unanimity is required. The EU’s objective to wrap up negotiations by the end of 2020 will prove challenging.
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Meeting the 2030 emissions targets: Are we on the right track?
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