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EU opens way to net zero greenhouse gas emissions

20 June 2018
by WWF -- last modified 21 June 2018

EU decision-makers agreed to aim for a net zero emissions economy "as soon as possible" in the early hours of this morning.


Reaching net zero emissions is urgent if we are to meet the Paris Agreement objective of keeping temperature rise to 1.5°C and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

The European Commission, EU Council and Parliament were finalising laws on 'Energy Union governance' - that is, the rules and framework governing climate plans and how the EU's 2030 renewables and energy efficiency targets are met.

Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF European Policy Office said:

"Finally the EU is waking up to the challenge of climate change. Getting rid of its outdated 80-95% emissions reduction target, and replacing it with a commitment to net zero emissions, is critical for meeting the Paris Agreement goals. The wording agreed this morning is a clear call on the European Commission to come up with pathways to net zero for  2050 and even well before in its mid-century roadmap, due by March 2019."

Disappointingly however, EU decision-makers did not agree on strict rules to ensure the renewables and energy efficiency targets are met.

"The weak rules on enforcing the targets lack teeth. At a time when Europe's renewables investments are shrinking and others are taking the lead in the global market-place, these anaemic rules are the last thing we need," commented Lübbeke.

Yesterday, EU decision-makers agreed on a 32.5% non-binding energy efficiency target, following their deal on a 32% renewables goal for 2030 last week.

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