Next year EU legislation needs to look beyond the new 2030 climate target

Climate action

EU Environment ministers today endorsed the earlier leaders’ agreement to up the bloc’s climate target to at least 55% net emission cuts by 2030. Next year will be crunch time to align the EU’s climate and energy legislation with the new goal, and even go beyond as more efforts will be needed to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Last week, EU leaders agreed on the European Commission’s proposal of a 2030 climate target of at least 55% net emission reductions, up from 40%.

They thus gave the green light for EU institutions to go ahead with the upgrade of key European climate legislation pieces next year: the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for the power and industry sector, the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) for all other emitting sectors, and the Land-Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) regulation.

Equally important, the EU energy legislation including the Energy Efficiency Directive, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, and the Renewable Energy Directive will need to be considerably revised to at least conform with the new climate target. Across the energy policy spectrum, fossil gas will have to be excluded instead of being mistakenly deemed a transition technology.

Last but not least, the European Parliament will play an important role next year in finalising the European Climate Law, and should primarily aim at increasing the level of ambition. Hence, the agreed 55% target still falls short of what the EU needs to do. The latest available science and the United Nations’ equity principles require the bloc to strive for at least 65% emission reductions by 2030 to honour its commitment to the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.

Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:
“Now that the new climate target is agreed, it’s time for implementing it. Next year European lawmakers will need to substantially upgrade the EU’s climate and energy legislation to ensure that member states will collectively slash emissions well beyond 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.”

The United Nations have looked at the impact that all the new climate pledges for 2030 from the EU, China and likely the US could have. If the commitments are fully implemented, they will reduce projected temperature rise by 0.5°C, from 3°C with current policies to 2.5°C by the end of this century. (1)

Trio added: “The new international commitments to fight dangerous climate change are projected to save us from an additional 0.5°C temperature rise. This is good news, but only one-third of the effort to go from 3°C to 1.5°C. Much more must and can be done, also by the EU.”


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

Note to editors:

(1) UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2020,

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


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