EU agrees on higher climate target

Dhe European Union agreed on a more ambitious climate target for 2030 just in time for American President Joe Biden’s climate summit on Thursday. Negotiators from the European Parliament and EU states agreed on Wednesday night to reduce CO2 emissions by 55 percent compared to 1990 levels. So far, the EU had promised a 40 percent reduction. Twenty years later, in 2050, the EU then wants to be climate neutral, i.e. not emit more CO2 than can be extracted from the atmosphere in a natural or technical way.

The responsible Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, spoke of a milestone after a total of 15 hours of negotiations: “We have agreed to write climate neutrality in a binding law and thus set the roadmap for climate policy for the next 30 years.”

The European Parliament wanted tougher goals

The CDU MEP Peter Liese spoke of a “historic agreement”. “Contrary to other claims, the 55 percent target is very ambitious when you consider that we reduced emissions by 25 percent from 1990 to 2020 and will now have to reduce them by another 30 percent in just nine years,” he said. The EU is also much more ambitious than the Americans. The most ambitious goal that is being discussed there is 50 percent compared to 2005. Compared to the EU base year 1990 that is just 43 percent. The Greens were very critical. “With the result of the climate law, the Green Deal turns out to be a PR project with flowery words and few concrete measures,” said MEP Michael Bloss. The climate target for 2030 does not meet the requirements of the Paris Climate Agreement.

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The Greens’ criticism does not only refer to the level of the 2030 target, which at 55 percent lags behind the European Parliament’s demand for 60 percent. They also criticize the fact that, unlike in the past, the 55 percent target should also include the positive effects of CO2 sinks such as forests on the climate. That benefits with 225 megatons (million tons). The EU states actually have to “only” reduce emissions by 52.8 percent.

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