EU climate target plan: Raising the level of ambition for 2030

Briefing 08-12-2020

The EU's current greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2030, of 40 % compared with 1990 levels, was agreed by the European Council in 2014, along with targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Since 2017, the European Parliament has been urging the European Commission to develop a zero-emission long-term 2050 vision for the European Union. Following Parliament's reiteration of this demand and a similar call from the European Council, in November 2018 the Commission adopted a strategic long-term vision, aiming for climate neutrality by 2050. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has committed to this goal with the European Green Deal, proposing to set the EU 2050 climate-neutrality target in legislation by means of a European climate law. As part of the climate-neutrality commitment, the Commission is proposing to review and revise the 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target, to ensure a realistic and feasible trajectory towards 2050. On 17 September 2020, on the basis of a public consultation and an in-depth impact assessment, the Commission adopted a communication on the climate target plan. The climate target plan proposes to increase the 2030 target from a 40 % emissions reduction to a 55 % net emissions reduction, compared with 1990 levels. The communication outlines sectoral targets and approaches, as well as the regulatory revisions and new initiatives needed in the climate and energy policy framework. In the 2021 Commission work programme, the numerous revisions required are presented under the package 'Fit for 55'. The 2030 target, embedded in the future climate law, will be subject to interinstitutional negotiations, with Parliament having adopted its position of a higher 60 % emissions reduction target at its October 2020 plenary session. The European Council discussed the climate target plan at its October 2020 meeting, and will revisit it in December with a view to agreeing the 2030 target.