EU Starts Planning for 2040 Goals On Way to Climate

The European Union started work on setting its 2040 climate goals, signaling future policies would require greener consumer lifestyles and more effort from businesses across the economy to meet climate neutrality by the middle of the century.

The European Commission, the bloc’s regulatory arm, is seeking public input on its upcoming proposals, including setting an emissions-reduction goal for the next decade and the role of its carbon market, according to documents published Friday.

The measures are part of the 27-nation region’s plan to cut emissions by at least 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.

The EU wants to be a global leader in the green shift, an increasingly challenging objective after US President Joe Biden’s landmark climate package and competition from China in low-carbon technologies and critical materials. At the same time, the bloc is grappling with an unprecedented energy crisis triggered by a cut in gas supply from Russia following the war in Ukraine.

“It is now more important than ever for the EU to get and stay on track to climate neutrality and resilience, providing a positive example to galvanize global action and to work with our partners worldwide to develop the solutions needed for all to transition to climate neutrality,” the commission said.

The EU indicated an emissions cut of 75 percent to 80 percent would follow the average trajectory between 2030 and climate neutrality in 2050. Lowering pollution by more than 90 percent would signify “a very high ambition, close to reaching climate neutrality already in 2040,” the commission said.

The commission signaled it is considering various options on the evolution of the EU Emissions Trading System, the bloc’s flagship carbon cap-and-trade program. They included an extension to cover new sectors, the potential inclusion of all fossil-fuel uses and accounting for carbon capture technologies.

It also said removing carbon dioxide from the environment is indispensable and sought views on how to tackle emissions from agriculture, including putting a carbon price on greenhouse gases from the sector.

Public input ends June 23 after which the commission plans to present in the first quarter of 2024 a climate roadmap for the next decade.

By Ewa Krukowska

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