EU Agrees 55% Target for Emissions Cut
EU heads of state agreed on December 11 on a target to reduce greenhouse emissions by at least 55% by 2030 versus the 1990 level, compared with a previous goal of 40%. The agreement was reached despite opposition from some coal-reliant member states, following talks that dragged on for 10 hours.
The European Parliament in October backed a legally binding target of reducing emissions by 60%, although the goal was whittled down during negotiations with member states. The 55% aim aligns with a proposal made by the European Commission in September.
"Today's agreement puts us on a clear path towards climate neutrality in 2050," European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. "It gives certainty to investors, to businesses, to public authorities and to citizens. It future-proofs our Union."
EU officials have said that delivering on the goal will require major changes in the energy and transport sectors, and the mass upgrade of buildings to make them more energy-efficient. While the tougher target had support from many of the EU's richer nations with significant clean energy capacity, several coal-reliant states such as Poland had resisted the proposal.
In exchange for its support, Poland secured a pledge for EU funding to help it transition to clean energy. The target is also collective, meaning not all members will need to achieve such a drastic cut.