The European Commission announces a plan to cut greenhouse gases by 90% by 2040, aiming for climate neutrality.
The European Commission aims for a 90% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2040. This is part of becoming the first climate-neutral continent. The announcement came before the June elections.
A new proposal states the EU must cut emissions by 90% from 1990 levels. This includes carbon removal from the atmosphere.
The goal aligns with the lower end of a 90-95% cut recommended by the EU's scientific body. Achieving this requires a rapid shift to clean energy. From 1990 to 2021, the EU cut emissions by 30%. Now, it has half the time to do twice as much.
EU climate commissioner Wopke Hoekstra said this shows Europe leading in climate action. He emphasized the need for inclusive progress.
The recommendation is for the next commission post-June elections. It aims to prevent worsening extreme weather. However, protests from farmers led to dropping some targets last minute. These protests also caused politicians to reconsider reducing farm pollution.
The EU plans to reduce fossil fuel use in energy by 80% by 2040 compared to 2021. But progress in sectors like food and transport is slow.
Keeping agriculture exemptions worries experts like De Pous. This could set a precedent in climate negotiations.
The 2040 target, announced in the European parliament, includes a carbon capture strategy. The goal is to capture 280m tonnes of CO2 by 2040. The EU aims to emit less than 850 megatonnes of CO2e and remove up to 400 megatonnes.
EU energy commissioner Kadri Simon said renewables and efficiency are key to neutrality. But carbon management technologies are also vital.
Experts are divided on carbon capture's role. It's seen as a way to clean industries like cement. It might offset hard-to-reduce sectors' emissions.
Critics argue carbon capture allows slow emission reductions and continued fossil fuel use. Greenpeace's Silvia Pastorelli said the EU's target relies on "creative accounting" and lacks honesty about ending fossil fuel use and tackling farm emissions.
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