A new GHG emission reduction target for 2030 is to be set

A new greenhouse gas emission reduction target for 2030 is to be set to achieve carbon neutrality

The European Commission is calling on experts and stakeholders to provide their opinion on how to increase the ambition of the GHG emission reduction target in a responsible way. There is time to take part on the online survey until 23 June 2020.

Back in 2014, all Member States of the European Union committed to reduce GHG emissions of at least 40 % (compared to 1990 levels) by 2030. However, this would not allow to address effectively the climate challenge and more ambition is needed. Therefore, the EU is currently working on a new common energy and climate strategy. This strategy will show how to increase the GHG emission reduction target to at least 50% by 2030. The Commission intends to present its comprehensive plan after the summer.

The action plan will set a new policy framework to drive decarbonisation of crucial economic sectors, namely services, buildings, industry, mobility/transport, energy supply, agriculture, forestry, and waste management.

It will be challenging for European economies, especially after the COVID-19 crisis to find their way to sustainable development and transition themselves to carbon neutrality. The main challenges of the transition concern energy security, competitiveness, jobs, and decoupling economic growth from resource consumption. Also, the new growth model should aim not only to reduce environmental impacts and degradation but also restore biodiversity. The waste sector generates GHG emissions through disposal – e.g. via landfilling and incineration of waste. However, waste sector also helps to reducing GHG emissions via recycling and reuse. Using recycled materials do not only saves natural resources but allows also for significant energy savings. An ambitious GHG emissions reduction plan should establish an enabling framework for Member States to comply with their recycling targets.

Next to that, biological treatment of waste allows to recover organic materials that can be used as soil improvers. Compost application to land allows to recover and store soil carbon content, and it enhances the quality and fertility of soils. It will also help agriculture and forestry to absorb more GHG emission in the long run, while securing nutritious food availability for all Europeans.

The Commission opened a public consultation to collect experts and stakeholders’ opinions via an online survey on the Commission website. The results of the consultation will inform the content of the strategy.

The Commission will also adopt new proposals to revise several pieces of both energy and climate legislation, such as:

  • Renewable energy directive – for instance by increasing renewable energy targets
  • Emission trading system (ETS) regulation and effort sharing regulation (ESR) – for instance by including new sectors, currently under ESR scope, under the ETS
  • Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry Regulation (LULUCF) – for instance by developing an EU methodology to certify CO2 removal credits for farmers who increase soil carbon content.