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EU climate law update: 60% emissions reduction target by 2030

Friday, 09 October 2020

On Wednesday (7 October 2020), the European Parliament voted to increase the EU's climate greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to 60% by 2030 up from the current 40%. 

Update on EU climate target

Wednesday, 392 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted for the amendment of the 2030 emissions target with 161 against and 142 abstentions. This new amendment calls for more ambitious emissions reduction targets for 2030 and 2040 to ensure that the region meets its 2050 carbon neutrality goals. 

Recently, the European Commission (EC) amended the 2030 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions target raising it to 55% from the initial 40% compared to 1990 levels. Business leaders had also called for a similar emission reduction target earlier in September. However, the MEPs have further raised the bar calling for a 60% reduction in 2030. Furthermore, the MEPs have also called for an interim emissions target for 2040 to be proposed by the EC by 31 May 2023 following an impact assessment to ensure that the EU is on track in meeting its 2050 decarbonization plans.

EU member states are also obligated to phase out all direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies by 31 December 2025 at the latest. 

Current state of GHG emissions in the EU

This new ambitious emission reduction target of 60% would require a reduction of approximately 2947 million tonnes of GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2030. The current rate of reductions shows that while some sectors show decreases in emissions, the still EU needs to heavily ramp up its efforts to meet its carbon neutrality 2050 goals, this is especially so within the transport sector where GHG emissions have exceeded that of 1990 levels. 

MEPs thoughts after the vote

After the amendment vote, Jytte Guteland, Swedish MEP from the Socialist and Democrats (S&D) group said "The adoption of the report sends a clear message to the Commission and the Council, in light of the upcoming negotiations. We expect all member states to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest and we need strong interim targets in 2030 and 2040 for the EU to achieve this."

She continued on to say "I’m also satisfied with the inclusion of a greenhouse gas budget, which sets out the total remaining quantity of emissions that can be emitted until 2050, without putting at risk the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.”

French centrist MEP Pascal Canfin who chairs the European Parliament’s environment committee and a big supporter of loftier EU emissions targets, in response to the new target, said "My amendment is now becoming the official position of the Parliament." he further tweeted "We are more than ever at the forefront of climate ambition!" showing his enthusiasm for the current efforts.

On the somewhat opposite end, German lawmaker from the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), Peter Liese believed the 60% reduction goal was "overambitious" and instead called on the EU member states to back the EC's initial 55% reduction goal adding that this goal was more "ambitious and realistic."

Next steps

Parliament will now start negotiations with EU Member States once the European Council has agreed on a common position. 


European Parliament