EU proposes ambitious 2030 emission reduction target

A new proposed EU initiative calls for an ambitious increased climate target for 2030 to prepare the EU for a transition towards climate neutrality by 2050, including an assessment of the economic, social, and environmental impacts of this plan.

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European climate law graphic
Photo: European Commission

The Paris Agreement aims to strengthen global response to the urgent threat of climate change by keeping global average temperatures well below the dangerous threshold of 2ºC above pre-industrial levels. In its 2019 special report on climate change, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) estimated that the world would need to become carbon neutral by 2050 in order to limit global temperature increase to 1.5ºC , as targeted by the Paris Agreement.

The EU has already taken major strides to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, including through its recently adopted legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

A recent initiative from the European Commission seeks to push these efforts even further, proposing to increase the greenhouse gas emission reduction target from 40% by 2030, to a 50-55% reduction of emissions by 2030. Given this much more ambitious targeted action, the initiative also proposes a large-scale impact assessment to consider “what would be required to have a more balanced reduction pathway from 2020 to 2050” and contribute to “sustainable and inclusive growth” with costs distributed over time.

The initiative will also assess the “feasibility, costs, and opportunities” for nature-based solutions and other new technologies, focusing on sectors that are likely to grow, like renewable energy, and others that are likely to transform, like agriculture and forestry.

The proposed initiative is currently in the stage of seeking public feedback, and will be open for contributions until 15 April 2020. These suggestions will be taken into account for further development of the initiative.

As the report boldly states, EU leadership towards meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement is more important than ever if we hope to reach our global carbon neutrality goals. “The EU’s ability to demonstrate the feasibility of a trajectory to climate neutrality and to manage a just transition will send a strong signal to other countries to follow suit.”

Read the full proposal or provide feedback on the initiative here.