EU increases its climate target at COP27

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Published: 11/16/2022 5:22:59 AM

The 27-member bloc will increase its 2030 emissions reduction target by at least two percentage points despite the energy crisis caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The European Union has announced a more ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on Tuesday.

The existing goal for 2030 was to cut emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels. This will now be upped at least 57%.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, the 27 EU member states share a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) that represents a joint commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"I'm happy to announce here today that the EU stands ready to update our NDC reflecting this higher ambition," the EU's climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said at the conference.

"Don't let anybody tell you, here or outside, that the EU is backtracking," he added.

Key policies in place

The exact details of the updated target should be finalized before the end of the year, Timmermans said.

However, he also said recent agreements to phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2035, to boost carbon sinks, and to share emissions cuts among member states are already enough to achieve the 57% emissions reduction.

In October, the European Environment Agency warned that the continent was not on track to meet its existing target due to the post-pandemic economic recovery.

But Timmermans claimed at COP27 that the EU was "saving more energy, investing more in renewables than ever before." 

Climate campaigners unconvinced

Timmermans denied the EU was in a "dash for gas" after Russia's invasion of Ukraine caused an energy crisis that threatens to drag on into winter. 

"Don't let them tell you that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is killing the European Green Deal," he said. "No. Europe is staying the course."

But climate activists said the announcement does not go far enough and will not minimize global heating in line with the Paris climate agreement target of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Climate Action Network Europe (CAN), a Brussels-based NGO, tweeted that "we need at least -65%, which is the EU's equitable share to achieve 1.5°C."

"This small increase announced today at COP27 doesn't do justice to the calls from the most vulnerable countries at the front lines," said Chiara Martinelli, the director of CAN. 

"If the EU, with a heavy history of emitting greenhouse gases, doesn't lead on mitigating climate change, who will?"  

Climate think tank Carbon Action Tracker called the new target "deeply inadequate" on Twitter, yet noted that it was "unnecessarily small" as the EU was on track for 2030 reductions of 60-61% due to "higher renewables and energy efficiency goals under discussion."

"Good, but not enough to put us in line with 1,5°C!" tweeted Yan Dupas, climate and environment advisor for the European Greens party, who also called for a 65% emissions cut by 2030.


Source: zc/sms (Reuters, AFP)

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