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European Commission raises EU’s GHG emissions reduction target to at least 55% by 2030

September 18, 2020
Chemical Value Chain

The European Commission presented today its 2030 climate target plan, in which it sets out a program to reduce EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared with 1990, despite a call from the European Parliament earlier this month for GHG emissions to be reduced 60% by 2030.

The new target is based on a comprehensive assessment of the social, economic, and environmental impacts, which shows that this “course of action is realistic and feasible,” the Commission says.

The raised target puts the EU on a balanced pathway to reaching climate neutrality by 2050 and underlines the EU’s continued global leadership in this area, ahead of the next UN climate conference (COP26), it says.

“We are doing everything in our power to keep the promise that we made to Europeans: make Europe the first climate-neutral continent in the world, by 2050. Today marks a major milestone in this journey. With the new target to cut EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, we will lead the way to a cleaner planet and a green recovery. Europe will emerge stronger from the [COVID-19] pandemic by investing in a resource-efficient circular economy, promoting innovation in clean technology and creating green jobs,” says Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission.

The plan includes an amendment to the proposed European climate law, which aims to write into legislation a goal set out in the EU Green Deal, to include the 2030 emissions-reduction target of at least 55% as a stepping stone to the 2050 climate-neutrality goal, the Commission says.

It also includes a call to the European Parliament and European Council to confirm the 55% target as the EU’s new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, and to submit this to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by the end of this year, it says.

It also sets out the legislative proposals to be presented by June 2021 to implement the new target, including revising and expanding the EU Emissions Trading System; adapting the Effort Sharing Regulation and the framework for land use emissions; reinforcing energy efficiency and renewable energy policies; and strengthening CO2 standards for road vehicles, the Commission says.

Earlier this week, Germany’s chemical industry association VCI (Frankfurt) defined the proposed tightening of the EU GHG emission–reduction target for 2030 from 40% to 55%, as extremely ambitious. However, the Commission says that its assessment shows that the EU is on track to surpass its current 2030 emissions reduction target of at least 40%.

“Based on existing policies and the plans of member states, we are on course to surpass our current 40% target for 2030. This shows that being more ambitious is not only necessary, but also realistic,” says Kadri Simson, EU commissioner for energy.

Achieving 55% GHG emissions reductions will require action in all sectors of the economy, the Commission says. The EU will have to increase energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy even more, to reach the new goal of 55%, and this will now be subject to further consultation and analysis before legislative proposals are presented by the Commission in June 2021, it says.

“The energy system will be at the heart of this effort. We will build on the success story of the European renewables sector, look at all the tools at our disposal to increase our energy efficiency, and lay a firm foundation for a greener Europe,” Simson says.

The Commission says it has also adopted today rules for a new EU renewable energy financing mechanism, to make it easier for member states to work together to finance and deploy renewable energy projects.

According to the Commission, the new 2030 climate target will also assist Europe’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, by stimulating investments in a resource-efficient economy, promoting innovation in clean technology, fostering competitiveness, and creating green jobs. It also notes that member states can draw on the €750-billion ($885 billion) NextGenerationEU recovery fund and the EU’s next long-term budget to make these investments in the green transition.

“In this crucial moment for our health, our economy, and for global climate action, it is essential that Europe leads the way to a green recovery,” says Frans Timmermans, Commission executive vice president for the European Green Deal.

By: Sotirios Frantzanas

Source: Chemical Week

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