European Union Leaders Agree To Cut Carbon Emissions By 40%

The European Union leaders reached a landmark agreement early on Friday. The 28 leaders vowed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. The deal was reached after hours of negotiation, and some financial sweeteners. BBC said it was a compromise between nations that depend heavily on coal, and those willing to instill huge emission cuts.

European Union to boost energy efficiency

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said in a statement that reaching a fair decision wasn’t easy at all. The 40% carbon emission cuts will be legally binding to all member states. The European Union leaders also agreed on a target that renewable energy such as solar and wind should account for at least 27% of the EU’s total energy mix, compared to 1990 levels. This goal is binding at the European Union level, not at the national level.

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EU leaders also agreed on yet another target to boost energy efficiency by 27%. However, this goal was “indicative,” meaning it’s not binding even at the EU level. With this, the EU bloc has become the first major carbon emitter to set a clear target ahead of the United Nations climate conference in Paris next year. However, this ambitious target fell short of Sweden and Germany’s expectations. Sweden said that the agreement “lacked teeth.”

Poland and some other countries to get greater financial support

Nordic countries and Germany were pushing for a binding target to improve energy efficiency. They argued that it would help the European Union lower its reliance on gas imports from Russia. But others opposed it due to significantly high upfront costs needed to achieve the objective. So, the deal on energy efficiency was made “indicative.”

Eastern and Central European countries would receive greater financial support to achieve the objective as they have to carry out massive overhaul of their energy systems. Despite some differences, the nations said they were committed to protecting the climate and generating more green power.