Climate: EU postpones decision on 2030 emissions target to December

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EU leaders, meeting at a summit in Brussels, decided on Thursday to postpone to a next meeting in December any decision on their new greenhouse gas emissions target for 2030, the subject of sharp differences between the member states .

The Twenty-Seven “will return to the subject at their summit in December with a view to agreeing on a new greenhouse gas reduction target for 2030” and submit it in time to the United Nations as part of the 2015 Paris climate accord, according to summit conclusions.

The European Commission is targeting a reduction of at least 55% of European emissions by 2030 compared to the 1990 level, against a target of 40% currently, in order to achieve “carbon neutrality” in 2050. The European Parliament calls for a reduction at least 60%.

The Member States must decide, and will imperatively have to agree among themselves on a final text by the end of the year.

The differences remain strong, which prompted Germany, at the head of the rotating EU presidency, to postpone a possible agreement at the December 10-11 summit.

Eleven countries, including France, Spain and the Netherlands, expressed in a joint letter their support for a drop of “at least 55%”.

But several eastern countries are opposed to it, in particular Poland, still very dependent on coal and which refuses to commit to its carbon neutrality.

“If this is a median target for the entire EU, no problem: some countries could reduce (their emissions) more. But we, the Czech Republic, will not succeed, ”Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis stressed Thursday.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boïko Borissov pointed the finger at the economic cost for his country’s mining sector: “Our preliminary calculations suggest that a 40% drop is a ceiling,” he warned.

These recalcitrant states may require additional funding, in particular through the Just Transition Fund.

“All States will participate in the effort, taking into account national circumstances and in a spirit of equity and solidarity”, specify the conclusions of the summit.

The schedule is tight: for negotiations with Parliament to be successful in mid-December, the European environment ministers would have to agree from their meeting on October 23 on “their version of the climate law”, warned Thursday MEP Pascal Canfin, chairman of the Environment committee.

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