Climate: EU Commission steps up, but fails to clarify numbers

Posted on September, 16 2020

55% figure is out of touch with science, public opinion, and climate reality
European Commission President Von der Leyen today announced an increase to the 2030 climate target, to 55% emissions reductions. While this is a crucial step forward, it is still not enough to tackle the climate emergency - WWF is calling for a 2030 target of at least 65%. And there could be a  catch to the Commission’s suggestion target, making it less ambitious than it appears.

It is unclear whether the final proposal turns the existing ‘emissions’ target  into a “net” emissions target - meaning carbon dioxide removals in the land use sector would count towards it. If it is the case, it would not only be at odds with the wording of its very own Climate Law, which does not refer to removals being part of the target, even worse, it would be a fudge of the EU’s climate ambition.  

Ester Asin, director of WWF European Policy Office said:
“Increasing the out-of-date EU climate target is massively overdue. Yet the 55% figure is still out of touch with science, public opinion, and the climate reality many are already living. The Paris Agreement turns five this year: the EU must honour its spirit and the commitments it made in 2015 by adopting a 65% emissions reductions target - and a separate target for carbon dioxide removals.”

WWF is calling for:
  • A 65% emissions reduction target for 2030.
  • A separate target for domestic net removals in the land sector, to be achieved through biodiversity-friendly restoration of forests and other natural ecosystems.
  • No extension of the EU Emissions Trading System to transport and buildings, which would undermine national climate efforts and risks exacerbating fuel poverty. 
  • Serious reform of the EU’s bioenergy policies, which pose a serious and ongoing threat to global forests and climate.

Imke Lübbeke
Head of Climate and Energy 

Alex Mason
Senior Policy Officer 
+ 32 494 762 763

Sarah Azau 
Media manager 
+32 473 573 137
Aerial view of low tide where Raviravi village meets the sea, Fiji. The streams that can be seen serve as a natural protection during high-tide, steering some of the incoming seawater away from the houses. Josateki Manatua has been living in the Raviravi village all his life and witnessed the progressing shoreline first hand. In his lifetime the ocean has advanced more than 30m towards their village, flooding the cemetery, killing trees and forcing people to re-locate inland. The kitchen of the closest house to the sea, standing on little poles, is now regularly (during high tide) flooded underneath. The community is deeply worried about their future. One of the steps they have undertaken to combat the effects of climate change is planting mangroves in the hope of slowing down the seas progress.
© Tom Vierus / WWF-UK