STATEMENT: European Council Endorses 55% Emissions Cut by 2030, Leads Race Toward Net-Zero Future

Today the European Council endorsed a target for the European Union to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at least 55% by 2030 below 1990 levels and committed to updating its climate and energy policy framework to achieve this objective. The target will be reflected in the EU’s new climate commitment under the Paris Agreement.

In the conclusion to the European Council meetings, the body said that the European Union is raising its climate ambition to “spur sustainable economic growth, create jobs, deliver health and environmental benefits for EU citizens, and contribute to the long-term global competitiveness of the EU economy by promoting innovation in green technologies.”

Following is a statement from Helen Mountford, Vice President, Climate and Economics, World Resources Institute:

“The European Union is showing that there’s no time to wait in the fight against climate change. With this new target, the European Union has jumped ahead as a leader in the race to a net-zero future.

“The EU’s target to cut emissions at least 55% by 2030 is significantly stronger than its previous pledge. Indeed, the EU’s new climate plan will have greater impact on global emissions over the next decade than any new 2030 commitment under the Paris Agreement to date. 

“Reaching agreement on this ambitious target was a major achievement. Members of the European Union are clearly embracing a new growth strategy that will create jobs, increase efficiencies and bolster the blocs’ competitiveness in the 21st century economy. The plan acknowledges the reality that countries are at different stages in the journey to a net-zero future and that substantial investments are necessary to help some communities transition away from fossil fuels. 

“The European Union has come to recognize that addressing the climate crisis is not only essential for our collective survival but is also a huge economic opportunity. That’s why it’s putting climate action at the heart of its economic recovery. Research shows that ambitious climate action can offer a $26 trillion boost to the global economy between now and 2030 and deliver more than 65 million new, low-carbon jobs.

“Now the European Union faces the important task of strengthening its policies and investments to get on a clear path to achieve its 55% reduction target and lay the foundation to reach net-zero by 2050. Throughout this process, it will be essential for citizens to have their voices heard and hold their leaders accountable for pursuing a low-carbon transformation that is fair, improves people’s lives, and leaves no one behind.

“There is growing momentum behind stronger near-term targets. The world will be watching to see whether other major emitters like China and the United States will deliver ambitious 2030 emission reduction targets that set the pace to reach a safe and prosperous, net-zero future.”

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