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EU failing to meet climate change commitments, new report finds

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FILE PHOTO: A sunflower blooms in between dried-out ones during unusually hot summer weather near the village of Benken, Switzerland, August 6, 2018. Picture taken with a fish
FILE PHOTO: A sunflower blooms in between dried-out ones during unusually hot summer weather near the village of Benken, Switzerland, August 6, 2018. Picture taken with a fish -
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A new report published on Wednesday reveals how Europe is failing to meet its ambitious green targets, just a few days after MEPs declared a climate emergency.

The European Environment Agency's findings show that the EU could do better when it comes to curbing emissions.

"Many of the targets that we set for ourselves for 2020 will not be reached," said Hans Bruyninckx, the Executive Director of the agency.

At the current rate, greenhouse gas emissions will reach 4,000 megatons of CO2 equivalent by 2030.

With a bit of effort, the EU could reduce its emissions to almost 3,500 megatons by the same date and then achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, EEA found.

Transport in focus

If Europe wants to get serious about going green - there is one sector that can't be ignored - transport.

"The black spot remains essentially on the issue of greenhouse gases since today the transport sector has emissions that are 30% higher than those of 1990," said François Dejean, a climate change expert at the European Environment Agency.

Over the last four years, greenhouse gas emissions from transport have started to rise again.

Yet the report also highlights progress made. The share of renewable energies has almost doubled since 2005.

"In 2017 renewable energy in growth final energy consumption were roughly 17.5% and according to the European Environment agency estimates they grew to 18% in 2018," said Mihai Tomescu, expert on Energy at the EEA

'New policies' needed

The agency stresses that solutions do exist. Technologies are available. But it also insists on the full implementation of EU policies and on the need for new financial means to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

"If we are serious about the von der Leyen agenda towards the Green Deal and the sustainable development goals we will also have to come with really new policies."

READ MORE: COP25: Are countries implementing their Paris agreement pledges?

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