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EU Climate Strategies and Targets

EU Climate Strategies and Targets
September 26, 2019 Michael Sutton

Background

Set by the European Commission, the EU Climate Strategies and Targets aim to progressively reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout the EU to combat the major threat of global warming. It comprises of three stages: 2020 Climate and Energy Package, 2030 Climate and Energy Framework, and 2050 Long-term strategy.

EU climate strategies

2020 Climate and Energy Package

The 2020 Climate and Energy Package outlines a short-term strategy, which is split into three main objectives:

  • 20% cut in GHG emissions (from 1990 levels)
  • 20% of EU energy from renewables (more than double the 2010 level of 9.8%)
  • 20% improvement in energy efficiency

To achieve these goals, several actions are being taken including an Energy Trading System (ETS) and increased focus on innovation, financing and improving energy efficiency. Each member state also has binding targets for raising the share of renewable energy. The commitment to this package has meant that the EU is on target to reach and possibly exceed these goals in 2020.

2030 Climate and Energy Framework

The main goal of the medium-term 2030 Climate and Energy Framework is for member states to prepare and plan technically feasible, cost effective and fair sharing efforts to combat climate change. As well as improving on the actions of the 2020 package, they will be required to develop National Climate and Energy Packages (NECPs) and long-term strategies. The key targets are a continuation of the 2020 package:

  • At least 40% cuts in GHG emissions (from 1990 levels)
  • At least 32% share for renewable energy (more than triple the 2010 level)
  • At least 32.5% improvement in energy efficiency

2050 Long-term Strategy

The main objective of the 2050 long-term strategy is to become the world’s first climate neutral major economy and to leave behind a healthier planet for people that follow. The strategy shows how Europe can lead the way to climate neutrality by investing into realistic technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning action in key areas such as industrial policy, finance, or research [1]. Instead of setting targets like in previous stages, joint action in several strategic areas will form a sense of direction that will help modernise the economy and promote further long-term strategies.

Conclusion

The EU Climate Strategies and Targets is in line with the Paris Agreement (PA) goal of keeping the global rise in temperature to well below 2oC however the United Nations has just this week said that current commitments to the PA will not be enough to reduce global warming to acceptable levels [2]. Although we are moving in the right direction, more major economies must separate from fossil fuel driven economies and commit to sustainable long-term strategies for the future.  

References

[1] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/631047/IPOL_BRI(2019)631047_EN.pdf

[2] https://news.sky.com/story/current-paris-accord-climate-targets-no-longer-enough-un-envoy-tells-sky-11816773

Image accreditation: https://www.flickr.com/photos/greenpeacepl/46259615962

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