EU leaders delay agreement on 2030 climate target, but confirm December deadline
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EU leaders delay agreement on 2030 climate target, but confirm December deadline

EU Heads of States and Governments discussed the proposed increase of the EU 2030 climate target but confirmed that a final decision will only be taken at their next meeting in December. To honour the Paris Agreement, the EU needs to substantially increase its commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 before the end of the year.

While the number of Member States supporting a significant increase of the 2030 emission reduction target is growing, several countries still require more time and discussions about the implications of a higher climate target.

Under the Paris Agreement, all countries must submit new, more ambitious pledges for 2030 emission reductions to the United Nations before the end of the year.

Current commitments and policies are expected to lead to a global temperature increase of 3-4°C by the end of the century, with estimated welfare losses for the EU alone of more than 175 billion euros every year by mid-century. Projected climate change costs to Southern and Eastern European economies would be double the average (1).

To keep the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement in reach and thus prevent dangerous climate change, the EU should adopt a substantially increased climate target of at least 65% emission cuts by 2030, the only target in line with the latest science available and the United Nations’ equity principles. This is well beyond the “at least 55% target” proposed by the European Commission, which already gained support from a majority of EU countries including in Central and Eastern Europe as demonstrated by the recent rallying of Czechia.

Others are calling for more. Last week, the European Parliament called for 60% emission cuts, and recently Denmark, Finland, and Sweden announced their support for 60-65% in the Council discussions to come.

Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:
“While EU leaders decided to take more time to discuss the climate target level, the urgency to act and tackle the climate emergency has never been bigger. Europe must lead by example and make sure its commitments to fight dangerous climate change are rooted in science and equity. The European Council in December needs to follow the frontrunners and agree to the highest possible level of emission reductions excluding carbon sinks. In order to create the necessary global momentum, the EU must present a new target by the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement on 12 December, one day after the decisive European Council meeting.”


Nicolas Derobert, Head of communications,, +32 483 62 18 88

Note to editors:
(1) “Economic analysis of selected climate impacts”, Joint Research Center, 2020.

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 170 member organisations active in 38 European countries, representing over 1.500 NGOs and more than 47million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.

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