EU top official proposes new 2030 target to reduce emissions

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The European Commission president is proposing to reduce Europe’s total greenhouse emissions by 55% by 2030, much higher than the current goal of 40%

BRUSSELS — The European Union’s top official on Wednesday proposed a more ambitious target for cutting greenhouse emissions in Europe, setting a reduction goal of 55% by 2030, significantly higher than the current target of 40%.

Speaking in the European Parliament, EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said the new target will be “too much for some and not enough for others,” but should help the 27-nation bloc achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

“Our economy and industry can manage this, and they want it, too,” Von der Leyen said as she set out her priorities for the year ahead in her first State of the Union address to EU lawmakers.

EU leaders agreed last year to make the bloc’s economy carbon neutral by the middle of the century.

Von der Leyen added that she wants 37% of the €750 billion coronavirus recovery fund adopted by EU countries this summer to be spent on environmental objectives, and that 30% of the fund should be raised through “green” bonds, whose proceeds are meant to have a positive impact on the environment.

The EU also plans to dedicate a quarter of its budget to tackling climate change and to work to shift 1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion) in investment toward making the EU’s economy more environmentally friendly over the next 10 years.

According to the EU, its greenhouse gas emissions already decreased by 23% between 1990 and 2018, with the economy growing by 61% in that period.

World leaders agreed five years ago in Paris to keep global warming below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, ideally no more than 2.7 F by the end of the century. Scientists say countries will miss both of those goals by a wide margin unless drastic steps are taken to begin cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

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