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EU summit approves 55 pct emissions reduction goal

14 December 2020, 18:18 CET
EU summit approves 55 pct emissions reduction goal

Merkel - Michel - Photo EU Council

(BRUSSELS) - Ending their two-day summit Friday, EU leaders endorsed a binding EU target of a net domestic reduction of at least 55 per cent in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990.

To meet the objective of a climate-neutral EU by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement, the EU needs to increase its ambition for the coming decade and update its climate and energy policy framework.

EU leaders say they intend to raise their climate ambition in a manner that will spur sustainable economic growth; create jobs; deliver health and environmental benefits for EU citizens; and contribute to the long-term global competitiveness of the EU economy by promoting green innovation.

They highlighted the importance of mobilising public finance and private capital, and recalled the overall target of at least 30% of the total amount of expenditure from the MFF and NGEU being directed to climate action.

To promote the development of common, global standards for green finance, the European Council has now invited the Commission to put forward a legislative proposal for an EU green bond standard by June 2021 at the latest.

The Council is now inviting the Commission to assess how all economic sectors can best contribute to the 2030 target and to make the necessary proposals, accompanied by an in-depth examination of environmental, economic and social impacts at member state level. The Commission is invited to consider, in particular:

  • exploring ways to strengthen the EU emissions trading system (ETS)
  • proposing measures that enable energy-intensive industries to develop and deploy innovative climate-neutral technologies while maintaining their industrial competitiveness
  • proposing a carbon border adjustment mechanism to ensure the environmental integrity of EU policies and avoid carbon leakage in a WTO-compatible way
  • addressing concerns raised in relation to the distribution of efforts, fairness and cost-effectiveness, forestry and land use and rising emissions and decreasing sinks from these sectors caused by the adverse effects of climate change

The leaders say they will return to the matter and adopt additional guidance in time before the Commission puts forward its proposals. The future of the Effort Sharing regulation will be tackled then.

The EU's nationally determined contribution, provided for in the Paris Agreement, will be updated according to the new binding target and submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat by the end of the year. Ahead of the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, which will take place in the United Kingdom in 2021, the European Council reiterated that international engagement is crucial to success in addressing climate change and called on all other parties, in particular major economies, to come forward with their own ambitious targets and policies. It underlined the importance of strong coordinated action through active European climate diplomacy.

European Council conclusions, 10-11 December 2020

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