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Commission dismisses ‘unfounded’ NGO request to review 2030 emissions targets

SAMUEL PETREQUIN / Associated Press
SAMUEL PETREQUIN / Associated Press Copyright AP Photo/Virginia Mayo
Copyright AP Photo/Virginia Mayo
By Marta Pacheco
Published on Updated
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Efforts by climate NGOs to increase national ambitions shunned by EU executive.

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The European Commission has rebuffed NGO attempts to persuade it to reduce annual emission allowances for member states claiming that the request was unfounded and that it lacks powers to reassess the bloc’s 2030 target, in a response seen by Euronews.

In August, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe’s and Global Legal Action Network’s (GLAN) issued a formal request for the EU executive to review the level of ambition of annual emission allowances, claiming these are currently “manifestly incompatible with holding global warming to the long-term temperature goal of 1.5°C”. The EU executive failed to account for an impact assessment or conduct fresh research on the feasibility of reducing domestic emissions beyond the 2030 target, currently set at -55% compared to 1990, according to the environmental NGOs.

The Commission found the request “inadmissible” saying that such a reassessment would go beyond its powers, in a letter sent to the NGOs on December 14.

“Even if the 2030 Climate Target Plan which – being a Commission Communication – is a non-legislative act adopted by a Union institution, the Impact Assessment is not an act adopted by the Commission, but a staff working document prepared by Commission services and annexed to the 2030 Climate Target Plan,” reads the EU executive’s response to CAN Europe and GLAN.

The annual emission allowances for the years 2026 to 2030 “remain undetermined”, according to the Commission’s letter, and they will depend on a review of the inventory data yet to be submitted by EU countries.

“The Commission’s reply comes as a disappointment. The response continues to incorrectly assert that the EU’s 2030 climate target is fully consistent with the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement,” Romain Didi, CAN Europe’s expert on climate governance and human rights policies told Euronews.

Didi accused the EU executive of denying its own duty to accelerate emission cuts to align with scientific data and previous legal commitments. “The EU has to ramp up its emissions reductions urgently and achieve at least a gross 65% cut by 2035,” he added.

The Commission said it “didn’t have anything to add” when approached by Euronews for further comment.

GLAN and CAN Europe said they will “naturally respond to the Commission’s reply” but are currently assessing all available options, including taking a challenge to the EU General Court.

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