By Jonas Ekblom
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union is currently nearly on track to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, but still needs much work, the European Environment Agency said in a report published Thursday.
“Significant increase in efforts (is) needed over the next decade” to reach the 2030 goals, the Copenhagen-based agency said.
It noted that the EU is currently on track to deliver a 30% reduction by 2030 and that the bloc cut its emissions by two percent between 2017 and 2018.
The report comes as Ursula von der Leyen, the incoming president of the bloc’s executive body, the European Commission, is about to take office on Dec. 1. She has made a climate neutral Europe her top priority.
Von der Leyen has pledged to make Europe the “world’s first climate-neutral continent” and said she wants even more ambitious 2030 goals, raising the targets from 40 to 55% below 1990 levels.
The environmental agency said that 10 out of 28 member states were on track to meet their short-term 2020 goals, and only three – Portugal, Sweden and Greece – were on track for the longer-term 2030 goals.
It noted that much more had to be done on energy efficiency in buildings and homes, as well as in the transport sector. The latter is the only sector where emissions are currently increasing in the EU.
The EU has struggled with internal divisions on how ambitious the bloc should – and can – be in taking a leadership role in cutting greenhouse gas emission. At a recent summit of EU national leaders, climate change was relegated to a 12-minute agenda item during the two-day meeting.
(Reporting by Jonas Ekblom; editing by diane Craft)