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11 Dec, 2020 09:53

EU sets ambitious new climate goal to cut emissions by 55 percent by 2030

EU sets ambitious new climate goal to cut emissions by 55 percent by 2030

Following a night of tense negotiations, EU leaders have agreed to set a new goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent within a decade. Poland, still heavily reliant on coal, opposed the target.

The breakthrough was announced on Friday, after some 10 hours of talks. The new target is considerably higher than the previous goal sought by the bloc, which was by 40 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2030.

“Great way to celebrate the first anniversary of our EU Green Deal!” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted. “Europe will reduce emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030. It puts us on a clear path towards climate neutrality in 2050.”

The plan was also praised by EU Council President Charles Michel, who said it clearly shows that “Europe is the leader in the fight against climate change.”

The adoption of the new goal has been strongly opposed by Poland, along with several other Central European nations that are still heavily reliant on coal, however. Poland is demanding guarantees on additional EU funding to pay for the transition to clean energy.

It also sought assurances that future emissions-cutting targets, envisioned by Brussels for certain sectors of the economy, would be based on gross domestic product. Such a provision would mean that poorer countries within the bloc would have to cut less than more prosperous ones. It was not immediately clear whether Warsaw received such guarantees.

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The EU is expected to present its latest climate target at a UN virtual summit on Saturday. The new goal still has to be approved by the European Parliament, which had pushed for an even more ambitious threshold of at least a 60 percent cut to emissions by 2030.

Some lawmakers have already signaled that the goal approved by the bloc’s leaders won’t be ratified by the parliament that easily. Swedish MEP Jytte Guteland, for instance, said it was “important not to be fooled” by the 55 percent target, arguing that it was still not sufficient.

“I have a strong mandate from the elected representatives in the European Parliament to push for more climate ambition. I intend to do that when we meet and negotiate,” she tweeted.

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