Chapter News, News

Europe leads the way in the fight against climate change

European Union leaders gathering in Brussels yesterday and today agreed on an ambitious framework and targets for the EU’s climate and energy policy. They endorsed: a binding EU target of at least 40 percent less greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 1990; a binding target of at least 27 percent of renewable energy used at EU level; an energy efficiency increase of at least 27 percent; the completion of the internal energy market by reaching an electricity interconnection target of 15 percent between members states and pushing forward important infrastructure projects.

“This 2030 package is very good news for our fight against climate change,” said European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. “No player in the world is as ambitious as the European Union when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.” Noting that the deal is vital for Europe’s energy security, President Barroso also pointed out that it “is also good for Europe’s competitiveness because it keeps us on the path towards a low carbon economy and green growth, with the necessary financial support and solidarity. The economic case for fighting climate change is clear. Failing to act is far more costly in the long run.”

EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard acknowledged that a binding 40 percent CO2 reduction effort is not an easy task, but she welcomed the adoption of the Commission’s proposal as an ambitious and important step forward. “Important not only to Europe and the Europeans, but also to the rest of the world. We have sent a strong signal to other big economies and all other countries: we have done our homework, now we urge you to follow Europe’s example.”

On 24 October, EU leaders agreed to the world’s most ambitious 2030 climate energy policy. They also decided to increase EU financial help to €1 billion to fight Ebola and discussed the state of the European economy. Euro area leaders also met in the Euro Summit format to discuss the euro area.

2030 climate and energy policy framework

The European Council endorsed 4 targets:

  • a binding EU target of 40% less greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 1990
  • a target of at least 27% of renewable energy consumption
  • a 27% energy efficiency increase
  • the completion of the internal energy market by achieving the existing electricity interconnection target of 10% and linking the energy islands – in particular the Baltic states and the Iberian Peninsula

On energy security, the European Council endorsed further actions to reduce the EU’s energy dependence and increase security of its electricity and gas supplies.