Climate: EU adopts target of reducing carbon emissions by at least 55% by 2030

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MEPs and EU states agreed on Wednesday to adopt the target of a net reduction of at least 55% in the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to the 1990 level, announced the European Commission and parliamentarians.

This objective was the subject of bitter negotiations between, on the one hand, the leaders of the Twenty-Seven, who had agreed in November on a 55% reduction, and on the other hand the European Parliament, which demanded a reduction in ‘at least 60%.

This agreement on an EU target, which will be formally incorporated into a “climate law” in preparation, comes on the eve of a climate summit initiated by US President Joe Biden, during which Washington must unveil its own revised target for 2030.

“This is a historic moment for the EU (…) The agreement strengthens our position in the world as a leader in the fight against the climate crisis”, welcomed Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the Commission in responsible for the European “Green Pact”, cited in a press release.

For his part, the Portuguese Minister of the Environment Joao Pedro Matos Fernandes, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, hailed “a strong signal to the whole world” and a goal “now set in stone” .

Talks between states and MEPs, deadlocked for months, resumed early Tuesday afternoon and continued until after 5 a.m., or fourteen hours of negotiations.

“Legally binding”

“Parliament was obviously ready to go even further, but the compromise found is ambitious: we are going to do two and a half times more in 9 years than what we have done in the last 10 years in Europe”, observed the MEP Pascal Canfin (Renew, Liberals), chairman of the Environment committee in the European Parliament.

From now on, “the objective of carbon neutrality for 2050 will become legally binding,” added German MEP Peter Liese (EPP, pro-EU right) in a tweet.

On the other hand, he regretted, this objective of carbon neutrality will apply collectively to all the Twenty-Seven, but will not be imposed on each State individually, contrary to what Parliament wished. Poland, on the other hand, still very dependent on coal, was fiercely opposed.

In the agreement reached, the objective is a “net” reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, that is to say that includes the compensation of CO emissions.2 by natural “carbon sinks”, via reforestation for example.

“It is the recognition of the need to improve the ‘carbon sinks’ of the EU”, through better regulation of the use of land and forest areas, underlines the Commission.

The total reduction in emissions could even “reach nearly 57% compared to 1990”, calculates Pascal Canfin.

For their part, environmental NGOs and green MEPs fiercely denounce a “clear” target which takes CO into account in particular.2 captured by forests at the risk of mechanically reducing the actual reduction required in polluting sectors.

“The climate law is not up to its ambitions. In real terms, it is only a reduction of 52.8%, it is not the “Green Pact” that we need (…) and it is insufficient with regard to the agreement of Paris ”, cracked on Twitter Michael Bloss, German Green MEP.