The heads of the European Union member countries have agreed to cut EU greenhouse gas emissions by 55% from the 1990 level over the next ten years
“Europe is the leader in the fight against climate change. We decided to cut our greenhouse gas emissions of at least 55 percent by 2030,” European Council President Charles Michel announced in his tweet early Friday morning.
The member states green-lighted the European Commission’s proposal to toughen the bloc’s medium-term target as part of the long-term goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
The deal was reached following late-night talks as part of the leaders’ two-day summit in Brussels. Some member states, especially those which still rely on coal, had been opposing the ambitious plans but finally agreed to support the enhanced goal.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the climate deal while addressing a joint press conference with Michel and German Chancellor Angela Merkel following the European Council meeting on Friday.
“Today’s agreement puts us on a clear path towards climate neutrality in 2050. It gives certainty to investors, to businesses, to public authorities and to citizens. It future-proofs our Union,” she said as she heaped praise on the German Presidency of the EU.
She said the European Green Deal will be the EU’s growth strategy. “All EU countries should benefit from the transition — with economic growth, a cleaner environment and healthier citizens,” she said.
In her annual State of Union speech in September, von der Leyen described the target of 55 percent reduction by 2030 as being “ambitious, achievable, and beneficial for Europe.”
The European Parliament’s environment committee had voted for tougher emissions reductions, calling for an ambitious 60 percent reduction by 2030 rather than the 55 percent proposed by the Commission.
The agreement was reached ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit to be held on Saturday, which will feature world leaders including those from the United Nations, France, Britain, Chile, Italy and China.