EU leaders reached an agreement last Friday to reduce the bloc’s collective greenhouse gas emissions by 55% below 1990 levels by 2030. The deal came after the EU failed to agree to reduce emissions by a less ambitious 40% by 2030 in October.
What is Happening?
- The deal was made after wealthier European countries and Eastern European countries such as Poland that are still dependent on coal reconciled their differences.
- European Council President Charles Michel announced the news on social media, saying that “Europe is the leader in the fight against climate change.”
- In March, the European Commission drafted a law that would make the bloc carbon neutral by 2050, however this target was criticised as being too far in the future. The New York Times has called this new target “more credible.”
- European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was pleased with the target, saying, “Today’s agreement puts us on a clear path to climate neutrality in 2050.”
Two factors allowed for coal-dependent members of the EU and the rest to agree on the target:
- The EU agreed on a USD$2.2 trillion budget last Thursday evening that includes funds for transitioning away from fossil fuels.
- Each country will not be held to the same standards, and countries with more diverse energy sources can compensate for slower transitions from coal-dependent states.
- The deal will also mandate an investment of USD$420 billion a year for decarbonising the energy sector. It will now need to be approved by the European Parliament.
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Some activists, such as those at Friends of the Earth Europe, said that the EU should be more ambitious in its goal in order to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement. Colin Roche, Friends of the Earth Europe climate justice coordinator, says, “Our leaders must go further to deliver Europe’s fair share of global action to cut carbon and live up to the agreement they made in Paris five years ago. Meanwhile if this new target is to be meaningful, planned new EU infrastructure spending must cut out all fossil fuels now.”
Featured image by: Flickr