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Climate: EU Commission steps up, but fails to clarify numbers

16 September 2020
by WWF -- last modified 16 September 2020

European Commission President Von der Leyen today announced an increase to the 2030 climate target, to 'at least 55%' emissions reductions. While this is a crucial step forward, it is still not enough to tackle the climate emergency - WWF is calling for a 2030 target of at least 65%. And there could be a catch to the Commission's suggestion target, making it less ambitious than it appears.


It is unclear whether the final proposal turns the existing 'emissions' target  into a "net" emissions target - meaning carbon dioxide removals in the land use sector would count towards it.

If it is the case, it would not only be at odds with the wording of the Commission's very own Climate Law, which does not refer to removals being part of the target, even worse, it would be a fudge of the EU's climate ambition. 

Ester Asin, director of WWF European Policy Office said:

"Increasing the out-of-date EU climate target is massively overdue. Yet the 55% figure is still out of touch with science, public opinion, and the climate reality many are already living. The Paris Agreement turns five this year: the EU must honour its spirit and the commitments it made in 2015 by adopting a 65% emissions reductions target - and a separate target for carbon dioxide removals."

WWF is calling for:

  • A 65% emissions reduction target for 2030.
  • A separate target for domestic net removals in the land sector, to be achieved through biodiversity-friendly restoration of forests and other natural ecosystems.
  • No extension of the EU Emissions Trading System to transport and buildings, which would undermine national climate efforts and risks exacerbating fuel poverty.
  • Serious reform of the EU's bioenergy policies, which pose a serious and ongoing threat to global forests and climate.


The European Policy Office helps shape EU policies that impact on the European and global environment.