Brussels - Europe's plan to tackle climate change is under review. The European Union's executive is planning deeper emissions cuts this decade, requiring every sector to become greener, faster. The Commission will propose that the EU commits to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030. Experts say this is the minimum needed to put the bloc on track to meet its pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The current target is a 40% cut by 2030. A draft Commission plan, seen by Reuters and due to be published on Thursday, lays out the sweeping changes needed to deliver on the target, which needs approval from the European Parliament and national governments. Here are the key points.
Europe's fossil fuel use would plummet. By 2030, EU coal consumption would drop by 70% from 2015 levels. Oil use would fall by 30% and gas by 25%. Meanwhile, the EU's share of renewable power production would more than double from today's 32%. These changes would save 100 billion euros in energy imports over 2021-2030, the draft said, boosting EU energy security. Europe would use less energy, which could be done by renovating the 75% of EU buildings that are energy-inefficient. By 2030, the Commission wants to double the EU's building renovation rate, currently stuck at just 1%.
The Commission will assess the date by which internal combustion engine car sales should end, and propose tighter 2030 CO2 emissions standards for cars. Road transport could also be added to the EU carbon market, to hurry the shift to zero-emissions vehicles. Aviation and shipping must step up their climate efforts. The Commission wants to add intra-EU maritime transport to the EU carbon market, and give fewer free carbon permits to airlines. It will also examine EU tax exemptions for fossil fuels, to give aviation and ships an extra nudge towards low-carbon fuels.
Heavy industry must overcome technological barriers and conduct large-scale tests of low-carbon hydrogen, carbon capture equipment and electricity-powered high heat before 2030. Factories could face higher carbon costs, as the Commission will further assess the amount of free pollution permits they receive in the carbon market.
FARMING AND FORESTS
Forestry and land will be counted towards the EU's new 2030 climate target - the sector absorbs more CO2 than it emits, which could help offset emissions in other sectors. Sustainable forest management and restoration of wetlands could help natural carbon sinks absorb 300 million tonnes of emissions by 2030, up from roughly 260 million tonnes in 2018. A new EU certification system will encourage farmers to store carbon on their land, while a "strong decrease" in consumption of animal products could cut 30 million tonnes of emissions by 2030.