Should the EU raise its carbon emissions target for 2030? EC seeks feedback

The European Commission wants feedback on whether it should move to a more ambitious interim target for reducing carbon emissions – a key step on the route to a ‘Net Zero’ economy by 2050.

The Commission is considering raising the 2030 target so that instead of a 40% reduction in carbon emissions, compared to 1990 levels, emissions are reduced by 50% or 55% – with the more stretching target clearly preferred by the Commission. In an impact assessment, the Commission acknowledged that a new target would have an impact on all sectors of the economy, but said that unless the bloc moved faster in the coming decade, it would need to eliminate more than half of its 1990 economy-wide emissions in only two decades after 2030 to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. It said, “This is a much faster reduction in annual emissions than has been achieved so far and thus a greater transition challenge than in the prior four decades.”

New analysis will assess the impact of a revised target across the economy, including “the extent to which and how the various pieces of climate, energy and transport legislation, including issues related to taxation, revenue recycling and the carbon border mechanism, could be revised in a coherent manner to achieve the higher ambition responsibly”. That analysis will form the basis of new legislation to achieve the targets.

The analysis noted that higher targets would require more investment to be shifted towards sustainable options. There would be higher capital costs in the short term – and that investment cost is likely to hit customers – but in the longer term energy costs would be lower. A higher target would also accelerate growth in some industries, such as renewables, and shrinkage in others, such as fossil fuel and that would have ripple effects across the economy.  But shifting to renewables would also improve the bloc’s energy supply security by reducing fossil fuel imports.

The EC wants feedback on its proposed roadmap by 15 April. A full consultation on the proposed target is planned in Q2 and the aim is that the Commission will adopt the new target late this year.

Join the consultation and provide feedback here 

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