Thursday

12th Dec 2019

EU leaders reach 2030 deal on climate and energy

  • Kopacz (r) after her first EU summit: 'I'm tired. I can hardly speak because I have spent so many hours talking and talking' (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

EU leaders agreed a new climate and energy deal for the next decade and a half in Brussels at around 1am local time on Friday (24 October).

The accord includes four targets for 2030: on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; on the share of renewables in the EU's “energy mix”; on energy savings; and on the EU's energy infrastructure.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Greenhouse gas emissions are to go down by “at least 40 percent” by 2030, EU Council head Herman Van Rompuy told press.

“About half” of the reduction will be achieved via the current Emissions Trading System (ETS), which puts a price on polluting by auctioning emissions allowances.

The other half is to be achieved by new measures in sectors not yet covered by the ETS, “like transport, agriculture and buildings”.

The reduction target for these sectors will be “national, yet tradeable”, Van Rompuy said, adding that the new system will be modelled on the cap-and-trade ETS regime.

“In order to reach its own target, a country, for instance Denmark, which already has double glazing everywhere, can decide instead of going for triple glazing, rather to help finance a double glazing project elsewhere in Europe. That way it can get more emissions savings value for its money”, he explained.

This will “allow individual countries to do less, but then they’ll have to compensate in other areas”, German chancellor Angela Merkel said in her press briefing.

Merkel added that “a lot could happen” between now and 2030 “so you can’t say now what should be a binding target for each and every country down to the last digit, but the overall 40 percent target is binding [on the EU].”

The second target is that at least 27 percent of the EU's energy consumption in 2030 should come from a renewable source.

This target is also “binding on an EU level”.

The third target is to increase the EU's energy efficiency by “at least 27 percent”.

This goal is “indicative”. The European Commission had proposed 30 percent, but after several member states called for 25 percent, a compromise was made.

The fourth target is that by 2030 the bloc should have “electricity interconnection worth 15 percent” of installed capacity.

Van Rompuy noted: “This means that for each 100 megawatts it produces, a member state should have the infrastructure to be able to import or export 15 megawatts to neighbouring countries.”

The negotiations were “not easy, not at all”, he said.

Polish prime minister Ewa Kopacz, who attended her first EU summit and who had threatened to veto a deal if Polish demands were not met, echoed the EU Council chief.

“It was hard, some people, even two or three hours ago, were telling us that we're asking for too much”, she said.

She added that her voice was hoarse from the marathon talks.

She claimed that Poland got what it wanted, however: “I came here saying we would not leave with any extra burdens, and we are not leaving with any extra burdens”.

Poland is dependent on greenhouse gas-emitting coal for 92 percent of its electricity and 55 percent of its total energy.

But the poorer EU countries received additional emissions permits to hand out to their energy companies.

Paris review clause

The EU agreement - the so-called climate and energy framework - is to be reviewed after an international summit on climate change in Paris in 2015.

This means that, in theory, the European Council can change the targets if they are not matched by non-European countries.

This review clause was “asked for by some of our member states”, Van Rompuy said.

Several eastern and central European countries feared that if the EU set too ambitious targets, while other nations like China or the US, slack, it could harm their competitiveness.

Van Rompuy denied that the review clause would “water down the objectives” and called the final deal “ambitious, yet cost-effective”.

“This agreement keeps Europe in the driver's seat [on the fight against global warming]”, outgoing European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso added.

Environmental NGO's quickly voiced disappointment with the deal, however.

Greenpeace said in a press release the targets are “too low, slowing down efforts to boost renewable energy and keeping Europe hooked on polluting and expensive fuels”.

Separately, Friends of the Earth said: “To describe 40 percent emissions cuts as adequate or ambitious, as EU leaders are doing, is dangerously irresponsible”.

"Insufficient action like this from the world's richest countries places yet more burden on the poorest people most affected by climate change, but least responsible for causing this crisis", Oxfam added.

What are the EU climate talks about?

With climate targets only set at the EU level, the key question is how member states will be persuaded to do their share.

UN welcomes EU climate deal

The climate agreement “opens the door to greater ambition by all countries”, the head of UN body on climate change said.

News in Brief

  1. Czechs protest against PM Babis over EU subsidy 'fraud'
  2. EU disbursed €2.7bn for Turkey refugees
  3. UK ports set to host EU border checks for Northern Ireland
  4. EU puts tech giants in crosshairs
  5. Faroe Islands under pressure to chose Huawei
  6. Hungary asked to apologise after council leak
  7. MEPs: Finnish budget proposal 'impossible to implement'
  8. EP committee supports 'Future of EU Conference'

Opinion

Does Malta's Labour Party now belong in S&D?

The Maltese Labour Party is a curious creature. No minister, MEP, MP, president, or former president has yet criticised Joseph Muscat publicly and outright over the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Exclusive

Zahradil 'conflict of interest' over EU-Vietnam trade deal

Right-wing Czech MEP Jan Zahradil is leading European Parliament negotiations on a trade deal with Vietnam. As rapporteur, he is supposed to be neutral but has neglected to declare his involvement in a group with ties to the Communist party.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. Leaders to battle on climate target and money at summit
  2. Von der Leyen: 'Green Deal is our man-on-moon moment'
  3. North Atlantic mini states in geopolitical turbulence
  4. Survey marks EU optimism on eve of UK's Brexit election
  5. Six priorities for human rights
  6. European shipping's dirty secret
  7. Hungary quizzed over EU rules amid twitter row
  8. Spanish King meets party leaders to break deadlock

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us