The European Union reached a preliminary climate agreement that would make the bloc 27 nations climate-neutral by 2050, with Member States and Parliament agreeing on the goals of a virtual summit hosted by US President Joe Biden.
“Our political commitment to become the first climate-neutral continent in 2050 is now also a legal commitment. The climate law puts the EU on a green path for a generation, says EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen early on Wednesday.
According to the provisional agreement reached after officials negotiated until nightfall, the EU also commits itself to an intermediate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
“It was high time for the agreement, as Europe must show where it stands in view of the positive developments in the United States and China,” said MEP Peter Liese, the negotiator for the EPP’s Christian Democrats.
So far, the target in 2030 had been 40%, but under pressure from increasing evidence of climate change and a more environmentally conscious electorate, the target was postponed, even though the EU legislator wanted a 60% target.
The Greens specifically complained that too many accounting tricks had been used to reach 55%, while in reality the reduction would be lower.
The United States, the world’s second largest polluter after China, is preparing to announce its new goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
During Biden, the United States returned to the Paris Agreement in 2015 and all global partners will meet in Glasgow, Scotland, to pursue strong goals.
Both Washington and Brussels aim to become “carbon neutral” by the middle of the century, a goal that scientists say must be achieved to keep average global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) until the year 2100. ambitious targets of limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C (2.7 F) by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times would probably require even more drastic reductions in global emissions.
Wednesday’s EU agreement still needs to be officially approved by the Member States and the legislature but should be little more than a rubber stamp.