The European Union earlier today finally reached an agreement on more stringent emissions-cutting goals for the next decade.
After long discussions, the block agreed to aim for a 55-percent reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from 1990 levels, the AP reported, as it strives to become net neutral by 2050. The previous target for 2030 was a 40-percent reduction in emissions from 1990 levels.
“Europe is the leader in the fight against climate change,” the president of the European Council, Charles Michel said in a tweet. “We decided to cut our greenhouse gas emissions of at least 55% by 2030.”
Following the news, the price of carbon in Europe hit an all-time high, Reuters reported, topping $37.57 (31 euro) per ton. Carbon trading was launched as part of the EU’s Emissions Trading System in 2005, which makes emitters from the power generation and manufacturing sectors pay for every ton of carbon dioxide they emit. Since then, emissions from these industries have fallen by 35 percent.
Today’s deal comes a day after the European Union agreed on a spending budget, including a coronavirus recovery package, worth more than $2 billion (1.85 billion euro). Of the total, almost a third will be spent on advancing the bloc’s leadership in the energy transition further, helping member states align their economies with the Paris Agreement targets set five years ago.
Clinching the deal was difficult because Eastern European EU members, notably Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, rely on coal for much of their energy generation. During the initial debates, these countries argued that a one-size-fits-all approach to the green transition was unfair to those like them. As a compromise, European leaders set the target for 2040 emission cuts as a collective one.
“Leaders agreed that the cuts will be first achieved in sectors and countries where there is still plenty of room for improvement,” the office of the Prime Minister of Belgium said, as quoted by the AP.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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