After tough and sometimes bitter negotiations, Europe has decided to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030, below 1990 levels. The whole EU region has also agreed to produce 27% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. This amounts to the strongest targets to try and limit climate change in the world so far.
During the EU negotiations, the UK vehemently opposed installing a firm renewable energy target, but was outvoted by other EU member states, including France, Italy, and Germany. There was also fierce debate about whether the EU should opt for a 35% or 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. According to The Guardian, so far EU emissions are likely heading for 25% below 1990 levels by 2020.
Germany, one of the world leaders in renewable energy development, firmly supported both the emissions reduction and renewable energy targets. The German environment minister, Barbara Hendricks, has said that the 40% cut in emissions was the minimum Germany would accept, adding that at the international climate talks in Paris next year, it’s not inconceivable that the world could decide on greater target than 40%.
The world is due to meet in Paris next year to decide on a global framework for limiting human-caused climate change. The EU is the first to decide on targets for emissions reductions. The decision will put pressure on other governments to match these new targets set out by Europe, or to better them.