The EU’s progress on climate change, reducing emissions, and coal phase out

Part of the EU’s climate change targets is to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by the year 2030. Despite receiving opposition to these targets from some member states, a new report shows that the bloc is on track to exceed the original target and cut emissions by around 50%.

In 2014, the target of 40% was initially agreed. Following this, the Paris Agreement set out targets of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, with most climate experts agreeing that an emissions reduction of 40% isn’t enough to achieve this.

A UN report into the effects of global warming, which was released last year, issued warnings about how temperature increases would affect the environment. It said that anything above 1.5 degrees would be enough to cause significant damage.

However, according to a study that was release last week, if the EU continues with its coal phase out initiatives, it should be on track to reduce emissions by 50% rather than 40% by 2030. This would mean all member states sticking to their pledges to phase out coal power.

Some of the phase outs currently underway include France, with a target of 2021; Italy, with a target of 2025; Germany, with a target of 2038; and the Netherlands, with a target of 2029. All other EU member states have agreed to phase out coal power by 2040.

However, the new prediction of a 50% reduction by 2030 would be dependant on individual member states meeting their obligations and sticking to the pledges they have set out.

At an event, Yvon Slingenberg, a director at the European Commission’s climate directorate said that “emphasis needs to be put on the long-term strategy [for 2050]. Our modelling shows 45% is the baseline if everything is implemented. So it is actually at the discretion of the member states.”

The Commission also pointed out that a number of member states are still sceptical about the coal phase out initiative. Among them is Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Germany. Later in the year, there will be a climate summit, which is crucial for discussing the EU’s strategy going forward.

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