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EU agrees on climate emission targets for 2030

24 October 2014

The European Council reached an agreement on greenhouse gas emission reduction and renewable energy targets for 2030. The heads of governments from the 28 EU member states endorsed three targets: (1) to reduce GHG emissions by 40% compared to 1990 levels; (2) to improve energy efficiency to 27% compared with business as usual; and (3) to increase the share of renewable energy to 27%.

While the 40% emission reduction goal is the most ambitious target among any major economy, it has been criticized by environmental groups as largely insufficient to put Europe on track to meet its own long term goal to reduce GHG emissions by 80-95% by 2050.

Poland, which threatened to veto the deal unless it addresses the country’s concerns of a surge in power prices, won assurances that its coal-fired utilities will get free carbon permits under the EU emissions trading system (ETS), reported Bloomberg. Free carbon permits will be given to member states whose GDP per capita does not exceed 60% of the EU average.

The agreement is not specific on emission reductions from the transport sector. The adopted text includes generic language on the promotion of energy efficiency and electric mobility in transport. However, member states are also allowed to include transport emissions in the ETS system, and offset emission from transportation by emission reductions in other sectors.

The Council agreement is also not specific on future biofuels policy. The European Commission has recognized that biofuels that are used under the current mandates that extend until 2020 bring little or no GHG emission reduction. Earlier this year, the Commission stated that biofuels should not receive any suppport after 2020.

Source: European Council