Published on Monday, May 17, 2021

Europe | Zero emissions

The recent agreement of the European Council and the European Parliament to reach climate neutrality by 2050 has sped up the global race in commitments to achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Key points

  • Key points:
  • Significant new details have been added to the European Union's previously announced target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and cutting emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels by 2030.
  • Firstly, setting intermediate emissions targets is a positive thing — there are now targets in place for 2030 and targets will be put in place for 2040 as well. This is an aspirational objective that also requires sectoral policies to be developed.
  • Secondly, limits have been placed on the portion of the targets that may be satisfied by absorbing emissions using carbon sinks and eliminating emissions using technologies that have only been partially deployed.
  • Lastly, it is important to highlight the emphasis placed by European institutions on basing their climate policies on the best scientific knowledge available. This is essential simply due to the room for improvement in the quantity and quality of existing data.
  • However, we'll need to wait until the end of June to hear the European Commission’s decisions on the measures to be taken in order to meet ambitious climate targets with measurable milestones.

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