November 2, 2020
At its E.U Summit in Brussels, European Union leaders agreed they need to raise their climate ambition above the existing target but stopped short of endorsing a proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared with 1990 levels according to an October 15, Associated Press report.
Leaders discussed the proposal from the bloc’s executive arm on the first day of an E.U. summit in Brussels, and came to the conclusion that the updated goal should be achieved “collectively” to take into account the different energy mixes of member states.
According to the meeting’s conclusions, leaders will try to find a consensus during another meeting to be held in December, ahead of the adoption of the first-ever European climate law.
“All Member States will participate in this effort, taking into account national circumstances and considerations of fairness and solidarity,” the conclusions read.
The text was sufficiently vague to find a consensus and could open the door to tailor-made arrangements capable of clinching the approval of all 27 member states.
While the European Parliament pushes for an even greater 60% reduction in emissions, some eastern E.U. countries that depend on coal for much of their energy needs are less enthusiastic. They worry about the social, environmental and economic costs of the transition to a greener economy. Poland last year did not commit to the E.U.’s 2050 climate neutrality goal and is asking for more details about the measures.
Speaking upon arrival at the summit, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis pleaded in favor of a collective target.
“I think every country has a different energy mix, and we have to take it into consideration,” he said. “If we agree on 55% average in the E.U., the Czech Republic [does not] have any problem.”
In proposing a reduction of at least 55%, compared with the current target of a 40% reduction by 2030, E.U. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen predicted in September that the new target would be “too much for some and not enough for others.”
So far, the cuts have been slightly more than 20% over the past 30 years. Reducing emissions by another 20% or even 35% within the next decade poses a big challenge to many countries.
What this means to you
At its E.U Summit in Brussels European Union leaders agreed they need to raise their climate ambition above the existing target but stopped short of endorsing a proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared with 1990 levels.
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