EU On Track to Achieve 50% Decrease in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2030 if Member States Comply

The EU has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 and has outlined the steps that will need to be taken in order to achieve this goal in its 2030 Climate Target Plan. In light of this, the EU should reach or slightly exceed the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) goal of reducing emissions by 50% compared to pre-industrial levels.

In its 2030 Climate Target Plan, the EU discusses that building and power generation changes will allow it to make the most significant and most cost-efficient emissions reductions. It notes that this can be achieved by rapidly increasing the number of renewable energy resources, electrification, energy system integration, and applying the concept of energy efficiency. The EU predicts that making these changes will yield a decrease in emissions of at least 65% in these sectors compared to 2015. By 2030, the EU also expects that 65% of electricity will come from renewable resources, allowing for the decarbonization of heating and cooling in the business and industry sectors.

The EU also notes the transportation sector’s pivotal role in achieving its 2030 emissions goals. The EU notes that electric vehicles will need to be further developed and deployed, and the amount of biofuels and low-carbon fuels will need to be increased. The EU’s Impact Assessment projects that CO2 emissions in passenger cars in 2030 will decrease by 50% compared to 2021 passenger car emissions. Aircraft and vessels will also need to be made more efficient, and fuel mixes will need to be improved for these modes of transport. A greater emphasis on educational efforts to encourage individuals and corporations to use sustainable transport will further be important in decreasing the amount of emissions in the transport sector.

Additionally, the EU highlights the importance of decreasing non-CO2 emissions of greenhouse gases like methane, nitrous oxide, and fluoride since these gases comprised 20% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2021. In order to decrease emissions of these gases, the EU notes that focusing on the energy, waste, and agriculture sectors will be most beneficial. The EU has specifically formulated a Methane Strategy to address decreasing methane emissions and notes that existing legislation pertaining to the bio-waste collection will be more strongly enforced in order to decrease excess emissions in the waste sector. The efficient use of fertilizers, precision farming, and the deployment of anaerobic digestion are cited as ways to reduce emissions of non-CO2 greenhouse gases in the agriculture sector.

Furthermore, the EU outlines that it will be important that the size of the EU’s carbon sink continues to grow in its land use, land use change, and forestry (LULUCF) sector in order to achieve its 2030 climate goals. The EU notes that policies will be implemented to promote improved and enforced forest protection, along with a Biodiversity Strategy that will facilitate sustainable reforestation and afforestation, as a means to increase the size of the EU’s carbon sink.

The three main pieces of legislation that outline how the aforementioned emissions reductions will be achieved are the EU’s Emissions Trading System Directive, the EU’s Effort Sharing Regulation, and the EU’s Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) Regulation. These larger EU regulations will be more practically enforced through Member States’ National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) that outline how Member States will reduce their emissions to meet the EU’s targets.

Thus, the EU has a sufficient number of clear regulations in place that will be conducive to meeting or slightly exceeding the IPCC’s 2030 emissions goal. However, it will be crucial that individual Member States’ efforts are more effectively monitored in the coming years, as the EU reaching its climate goals will depend on Member States following through with their NECPs.

Climate Action Tracker’s assessment further highlights that the EU’s current climate policies and actions are almost sufficient to meet the IPCC’s 2030 emissions target. EU Member States have delayed reporting on policy implementation, and previous data suggest that the policies and actions that Member States currently have implemented do not fully meet the guidelines outlined in EU regulations and will not be conducive to the EU meeting the IPCC’s 2030 emissions goal.

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard European Union Manager Brittany Demogenes.


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