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EU compromise on climate and energy goals

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Last week EU leaders came to a compromise deal on climate and energy targets for 2030. The targets are an important signal ahead of the Paris meeting next year, where a global climate deal is due to be signed. The emissions target will be revisited after the Paris meeting.

EU agreed to cut greenhouse gases by “at least” 40% of 1990 levels by 2030. The 2030 targets will follow existing 2020 targets that the EU is on track to meet (-20% from 1990 level). Targets will be based purely on domestic cuts – countries cannot use international offsets. Poland has won concessions in the agreement, including free allowances under the EU ETS. Poland argued that Europe, which accounts for only 10% of global emissions, should not commit to deeper emission cuts before the rest of the world does.

The EU has also agreed an EU-wide renewable energy target of at least 27%, and to cut energy use by at least 27% against business-as-usual. The efficiency target was diluted from a 30% proposal and will be non-binding.

For the gas business the efficiency target is the most significant. EU scenarios on different targets for energy efficiency show that the agreed reduction in energy use would reduce gas consumption by 15% while coal use would be maintained. For the most ambitious target of 40% cut in energy use, gas consumption would be nearly halved.

 

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