GHG Emissions - July 15, 2021
EU Unveils Plan to Cut Emissions 55% by 2030 Across the Continent
The European Commission announced July 14 a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the EU by 55% before 2030 from 1990 levels.
The proposals released include adjusting carbon pricing within the EU Emissions Trading System, increasing renewable energy use and improving energy efficiency through low-emission vehicles and infrastructure technology. A part of the plan also includes aligning taxation policies in the EU with the goals of the European Green Deal in order to promote clean technologies and incentivize the transition away from fossil fuel-powered products.
If this emissions target and the European Green Deal are achieved, it would make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. A key part of the plan is a target to produce 40% of the energy used in the EU from renewable sources by 2030, and all EU Member States will be expected to contribute to that goal.
The EU Emissions Trading System previously reduced the emissions from power generation and energy-intensive industries by 42.8% over the past 16 years. A new emissions cap would further decrease emissions and include phasing out free emission allowances for the aviation sector.
EU Member States will be expected to spend the entirety of their emissions trading revenues on climate and energy-related projects and comply with EU-wide carbon removal targets, including removing 310 million tons of CO2 by 2030 by investing in natural sinks and reaching climate neutrality in land use, forestry and agriculture sectors by 2035.
Some other targets in the plan to decrease emissions across sectors include renovating 3% of all EU buildings each year to increase efficiency and requiring that emissions from new cars decrease by 55% from 2030 and 100% from 2035 compared to 2021. Member States will be required to expand EV charging capacity to keep up with this transition.
The EU’s long-term budget has been adjusted to reflect these initiatives, with 30% of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework and NextGenerationEU and 37% of the Recovery and Resilience Facility being dedicated to the transition.
“The fossil fuel economy has reached its limits,” Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said in a statement. “We want to leave the next generation a healthy planet as well as good jobs and growth that does not hurt our nature. The European Green Deal is our growth strategy that is moving towards a decarbonised economy. Europe was the first continent to declare to be climate neutral in 2050, and now we are the very first ones to put a concrete roadmap on the table. Europe walks the talk on climate policies through innovation, investment and social compensation.”