EU outlines climate plans

The EU Commission has presented its proposal on how to achieve its 2030 climate targets, calling on rich states to shoulder much of the burden in its greenhouse-gas targets sharing programme.

The EU pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990, and the EU-wide emissions trading system (ETS) will play a major role in accomplishing this as it covers major industrial and energy CO2 emitters.

All sectors covered by the ETS should reduce their emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005. The other sectors of the economy (the so-called non-ETS sectors) should reduce their emissions by 30 per cent.

The EU Commission has now presented the national reduction targets for the non-ETS sectors. While the EU calls it a “fair and cost-effective redistribution”, it places much of the burden on the wealthy northern member states.

Luxembourg and Sweden will have to reduce their CO2 emissions in non-ETS sectors by 40 per cent, Denmark and Finland by 39 per cent, Germany by 38 per cent, followed by the other major EU economies – France and the UK – by 37 per cent.

New EU member states see only minor reductions: Poland, the EU’s largest eastern member state, sees a reduction of only 7 per cent, and Bulgaria none at all.

According to an EC statement, the countries with the strictest reduction targets can now benefit from certain flexibilities. For instance, they can cover some emissions in the non-ETS sectors with EU Trading System allowances that would normally have been auctioned. They can also credit some CO2 emissions from certain agriculture categories.

The EU also wants to increase efficiency in the transport sector to reach its climate targets by focusing on lower-emission transport modes, speeding up the deployment of low-emission alternative energy for transport, and moving towards zero-emission vehicles. The strategy will also create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

EU commissioner for transport Violeta Bulc said: “Transport accounts for a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and is a main cause of air pollution. The transition to low-emission mobility is therefore essential to reach the EU’s ambitious climate objectives and to improve the quality of life in our cities.”


Image credit: Marcel Oosterwijk, flickr/Creative Commons

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