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EU adopts 40% emission reduction target for 2030

Last night the European Council agreed on a deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2013, compared with 1990 levels. The deal also includes an agreement to increase the use of renewable energy to 27% of the total energy mix and increase energy efficiency to 27%. The agreement comes ahead of the UN climate change summit in Paris in December 2015, at which it is hoped a globally-binding emissions reduction pact will be signed.

The deal follows weeks of doubt over whether an agreement could be reached. Poland’s Prime Minister, Ewa Kopacz, was under pressure at home to veto the 2030 target because Poland is reliant on coal and there are fears that the target could impact on Poland’s economic growth. A similar stance has also been taken by Hungary and Slovakia. Although the UK was willing to agree to a 50% reduction in emissions, it is against setting a target for energy efficiency. There was also disagreement about whether the emissions reduction target should be binding or not.

The debates at the European Council continued into the night, however, at 1 am Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council tweeted: “Deal! At least 40% emissions cut by 2030.” Van Rompuy also referred to the deal as ambitious, cost-effective and fair.

However, a number of environmental groups have voiced disappointment over the deal. The European Environmental Bureau’s Secretary General, Jeremy Wates, said: “With this abysmal result, Europe’s leaders have failed their citizens and failed the world. More and more extreme weather events such as flooding and wildfires are already hurting people and their communities all across Europe. Adopting a set of targets to cut energy waste by 40%, roll out sustainable renewables to 45% of the energy mix and cut emissions by 60% is what the science of climate change demands, and is also what will help Europe get on its feet.”