Members' Research Service By / December 15, 2021

Climate action in the European Union: Latest state of play

EU-27 total GHG emissions were 3 743 million tonnes (Mt) CO2e in 2019, marking a 19 % decrease from 2005 levels and a 24 % reduction compared with 1990, overachieving on the 2020 target of 20 % compared with 1990.

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Written by Liselotte Jensen.

At a time when the European Union (EU) is preparing a major revision of its climate and energy framework in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal and the targets set in the European Climate Law, this briefing looks at overall progress on climate action.

Although the EU met its 2020 targets for reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) and increasing renewable energy use and energy efficiency in the extraordinary context of the coronavirus crisis, pandemic recovery led energy consumption and emissions to rebound in 2021. Member States are required to invest 37 % of EU Recovery and Resilience Facility Funds on climate objectives.

The European Climate Law sets the targets of reducing net GHG emissions by ‘at least’ 55 % by 2030, compared with 1990, and achieving climate neutrality by 2050. However, current climate and energy legislation for the 2021-2030 period is still based on a lower 2030 target of 40 % emission reduction, as are Member States’ national energy and climate plans (NECPs) for the 2021-2030 period, required by the Governance Regulation. With the ‘fit for 55’ package presented in July 2021, the Commission is aiming to bring EU climate and energy legislation in line with the new targets. Member States need to update their NECPs by June 2024.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Climate action in the European Union: Latest state of play‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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