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EU on the right path in emission reductions, but it must pick up the pace towards 2030

30 November 2020
by eub2 -- last modified 30 November 2020

New data on greenhouse gas emission reductions in the EU published today in the European Environment Agency (EEA)'s annual 'trends and projections' assessments show a 4% emissions decrease in 2019 from 2018, showing that deep emission cuts are possible and can be achieved irrespective of economic trends.


Nevertheless, higher emission reductions by 2030 will be needed to stay in line with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.

The report shows that greenhouse gas emissions from the sectors covered by the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) have continued to decrease between 2018 and 2019, in the power sector mainly.

However, other sectors should pick up the reduction pace. Transport emissions have even increased in recent years narrowing the overachievement of the EU 2020 target and confirming the need to ramp up efforts to cut emissions in all sectors of the economy beyond the power sector.

In order to keep the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement within reach, the EU and Member States should aim at slashing emissions by at least 65% by 2030, meaning the pace in emission reductions will inevitably have to speed up in the next decade to avoid worsening impacts of climate change. We need to make sure that we do not settle for comfortable targets, but for the ones requested by science and equity.

Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:
"It is good to see that greenhouse gas emissions have gone down substantially in 2019 particularly in the power sector. We are obviously also expecting substantial reductions in 2020. The urgency of the climate crisis requires the EU and Member States to increase this level of reductions further in the coming years. To do so, we need to boost the EU emissions reduction target for 2030, and consequently take action to reduce the climate-harmful impacts of all economic sectors, among others by using the opportunities offered by the future EU budget and recovery package.

Instead of subsidising fossil fuels, the EU must immediately redirect its financial flows towards renewable energy and energy efficiency, two of the main pillars of the transition. With the unprecedented amounts of money of the EU budget and recovery fund earmarked for climate action, EU countries will have far more means to tackle the biggest challenge of our time."

The preliminary EEA data suggest that the EU-27 achieved a total share of renewables in energy consumption of 19.4% in 2019. It indicates the EU is on track for its 2020 renewables target, however renewables share needs to increase in view of the 2030 ambition. In this decade, renewable electricity generation should at least triple to meet our Paris commitments. This should lead to renewables covering 50% of gross final energy consumption in 2030 and 100% in 2040.

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe's leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 170 member organisations active in 38 European countries, representing over 1,500 NGOs and more than 47million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe
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