Setting targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions is a key driver for climate action and vital to ensure the world is on track to avoid catastrophic climate change.
In 2015, the global community agreed to try to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This commitment was sealed in the Paris Agreement. To track the collective progress towards this global objective, each country needs to develop an emission reduction strategy for the long term and regularly set and review domestic climate targets, the so-called nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
In 2019, the EU agreed on a long term climate target and pledged to reach a climate-neutral economy by 2050. This means that by that date, domestic emissions will need to be net-zero, with all remaining emissions being absorbed by emission sinks such as forests.
In December 2020, the European Council agreed to increase the EU’s 2030 climate target to at least -55% net emission reductions, compared to 1990 levels. Although a welcome improvement from the previous -40% target, the new NDC is still not sufficiently strong to stop dangerous climate change and reflect the EU’s fair contribution to the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement. In addition, in contrast to the old target, the new NDC includes carbon removals as a way to achieve the 2030 net emission cuts, watering down the required efforts from mitigating sectors.
Action in the next 10 years will be most decisive in reaching the 1.5°C objective and in light of the principles of equity and capacity to act, therefore the EU must increase its 2030 climate target under the Paris Agreement to at least 65% emission reductions compared to 1990 emissions, with carbon removals being increased in addition and separately from mitigation efforts. Being a rich economy and responsible for a substantial part of historic emissions, the EU should also achieve climate neutrality before mid-century and by 2040 at the latest.
In the EU, the 2030 overall climate target is implemented through the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework, in particular through three pieces of EU legislation: the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), the Effort-Sharing Regulation (ESR) and the LULUCF Regulation that addresses land-based emissions. These legislative files are currently under revision as part of the Fit For 55 package that was launched in July 2021. CAN Europe is calling for increasing the respective 2030 targets of each file in order to enable the EU to overshoot the at least -55% net emissions overall target. In particular, we support increasing the ETS 2030 target to at least -70% and the ESR target to at least -50% emissions, compared to 2005, and call for an increase of the EU’s natural sink capacity to 600 Mt in 2030.
Alongside a stronger climate target, CAN Europe supports a corresponding increase of the EU’s energy targets, with an energy savings target of at least 45% and a renewable energies target of at least 50% for 2030.