European Union warns it could miss climate targets for 2030

MADRID (AP) – The European Union (EU) said yesterday that it will likely miss its target for reducing greenhouse gases by 2030, dealing a blow to the bloc’s efforts to be a leader in the fight against climate change.

The European Environment Agency said existing measures put the European Union (EU) on course to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide and other planet-warming pollutants by 30 per cent in the next decade compared with 1990 levels. Currently, the 28-nation bloc aims for a reduction of 40 per cent by 2030, and some leaders have called for this target to be raised to 55 per cent, with a long-term goal of ending virtually all new emissions by 2050.

“Recent trends highlight a slowing down of progress in areas such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, industrial emissions, waste generation, improving energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy,” the agency said in a report. “Looking ahead, the current rate of progress will not be enough to meet 2030 and 2050 climate and energy targets.”

The report was released as officials from almost 200 countries meet in Madrid for United Nations (UN) climate talks. The EU’s new executive Commission is expected to present its long-term plan for tackling global warming — dubbed the European Green Deal — next week.

Environmental campaigners said the EU should step up its efforts to ensure that the aim of the 2015 Paris climate accord of keeping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century remains possible.

“Current EU leaders are the last generation that can prevent the climate breakdown,” said Director of the campaign group Climate Action Network Europe Wendel Trio.

Trio noted that the European Parliament recently declared a symbolic “climate emergency”.