The European Commission on Wednesday adopted an ambitious package of proposals aimed at reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030.
The 27 legislative proposals call for new policies on climate, energy, land use, transportation and taxation to achieve the ambitious goal of 55% lower emissions than 1990 levels.
A statement from the European Commission said the package offers the legislative tools to deliver on targets agreed to in the European Climate Law, which goes into effect this month. "Achieving these emission reductions in the next decade is crucial to Europe becoming the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and making the European Green Deal a reality," the statement said.
The package is a combination of tightening and expanding the existing emissions trading system; increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy; a faster roll-out of low-emission transportation modes, infrastructure and fuels; alignment of taxation policies; and measures to prevent carbon leakage.
The EU Emissions Trading System puts a price on carbon and lowers the cap on emissions from certain economic sectors every year, and has lowered emissions from power generation and energy-intensive industries by 42.8% in the past 16 years, the EC said. The proposal would lower the overall emission cap and increase the annual rate of reduction. Free emission allowances for aviation would be reduced.
Each EU member state would be assigned emission-reduction targets, based on its per capita GDP.
With energy production and use accounting for 75% of EU emissions, accelerating the transition to greener energy is crucial, the EU statement said. The renewable energy piece of the package calls for producing 40% of energy in Europe to come from renewable sources by 2030, and reduced energy-use targets. A new carbon price on imports seeks to prevent "carbon leakage" and carbon-intensive production moving outside Europe.
A new social climate fund to help member states and citizens finance the measures would come out of the EU budget, providing €72.2 billion ($85.3 billion) to member states from 2025-2032. Matched with member states' funding, that could mobilize €144.4 billion ($170.4 billion), the EC said.
Existing climate and energy legislation has seen EU greenhouse gas emissions fall by 24% compared to 1990, as the EU economy grew by 60% in the same period, the EC said.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in the announcement that "the fossil fuel economy has reached its limits," while Frans Timmermans, the EC executive vice president for the European Green Deal called it "the make-or-break decade in the fight against the climate and biodiversity crises."