The companies say the bloc needs to set a reduction target of at least 90% compared to 1990 levels to avoid passing “irreversible tipping points”.
Some of the continent’s biggest businesses, including Coca Cola Europe, Unilever and Velux, have called on the EU to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2040.
The companies say the bloc needs to set a reduction target of at least 90% compared to 1990 levels to avoid passing “irreversible tipping points”, and that no more than 10% of this should come from carbon removals.
It also comes as the European Commission approaches its June 2024 deadline for announcing a formal climate target.
The EU can achieve the proposed 2040 objective by following 10 principles, according to the CLG report.
These include accelerating electrification and phasing out fossil fuels, boosting EU and national budgets for climate and nature, and embedding competitive sustainability into the bloc’s policies.
The group also urges the EU to rapidly reduce emissions from the buildings sector and adopt a realistic and evidence-based approach to carbon removals.
The EU’s “much needed leadership”
A 90% reduction target would put the EU on a level of ambition aligned with the Paris Agreement, according to CLG Europe, in which countries aim to stop global warming from surpassing 1.5°C.
“In setting a 2040 target, the EU can provide much needed leadership and give clear market and policy signals for climate action,” said Tim Christophersen, vice president of climate action at Salesforce.
“We welcome a target that reflects the speed, urgency and benefits of near-term action, for people, the climate and nature,” he added.
A spokesperson for the European Commission said it’s currently “premature” to speculate on possible emission reduction levels for 2040.
“What is already clear, is that climate will indeed remain at the core of the EU’s policy agenda for the coming decades,” the spokesperson said, pointing to the emissions reduction targets already set into EU law and the bloc’s commitment to become “the first climate neutral continent by 2050”.
“As President [Ursula] von der Leyen has always said, the EU Green Deal is Europe’s growth strategy,” the spokesperson added.