EU leaders agree to cut emissions 55 percent by 2030
EU leaders agreed Friday to raise the bloc’s 2030 emissions-cutting goal to 55 percent — an important step for the European Green Deal’s aim to reach climate neutrality by 2050.
“Europe is the leader in the fight against climate change,” European Council President Charles Michel tweeted Friday morning.
Negotiations stalled overnight over concerns that poorer, coal-reliant countries in Central and Eastern Europe would have to bear the brunt of the costs of raising the target from its current 40 percent.
In order to assuage those concerns, the final text reassured them of financial and regulatory support. The agreement also gives assurances they can use nuclear power and natural gas to replace dirtier fossil fuels.
The deal also calls for reforming the Emissions Trading System, singling out the Modernization Fund to provide more support to poorer and coal-reliant countries. That’s especially aimed at Poland, which was the biggest hold-out until the end, officials said.
As well, the 2030 goal will be delivered by the bloc collectively, rather than at national level — another worry of the Central Europeans, but something that’s likely to spark future conflicts over how fast each country will cut down its pollution.
The new target will count emissions absorbed by land use and forests, giving it a few percentage points head start — something that worries climate campaigners.
The final deal still needs to be hammered out with the European Parliament, which wants a 60 percent cut but is unlikely to make much headway against the Council.
Hitting the tougher 2030 goal means a huge new regulatory rollout by the Commission next year targeting every sector of the economy.
The new goal is a key part of the EU’s new Paris Agreement commitment, which it will present at a U.N. climate summit on Saturday.