EU countries have agreed to raise their climate pledges by the end of the year, looking to quickly ‘clinch’ 3 reduction policies as the group attempts to rally ambition among major emitters ahead of this year’s COP27 climate talks.
At COP21, 194 countries signed the Paris Agreement, a benchmark treaty which set out to limit global warming to 1.5 °C or less compared to pre-industrial levels. By 2020, each country had submitted plans to reduce its own emissions through government action towards this goal. These plans are called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).
But, a study released in 2021 showed that even when combined, these commitments are inadequate to keep temperatures below the 1.5 °C goal set as part of the agreement. According to the report, these commitments would only result in an increase in emissions by 10.6% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels.
By contrast, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has indicated that emission reduction ranges to meet the 1.5 °C temperature goal should be around -45% in 2030 compared to 2010.
At COP26, over 200 countries agreed to upgrade their climate pledges by this year’s summit in Egypt, to bridge this emission reduction gap, however to this date only a handful of countries have submitted revised NDC’s.
On Monday, the EU, consisting of 27 countries, pledged to upgrade its target ‘as soon as possible’, but said this could not be done until the group of countries, also known as a ‘bloc’, finished writing and passing a dozen new emission reduction laws, which they say will be done by the end of the year.
But with COP27 taking place in Sharm El Sheikh next month, the group doesn’t want to turn up empty handed. According to the Reuters news agency, in order to arrive at the conference with new ambitious climate policies, EU officials are “racing to clinch deals” on three policies.
“The EU has to be the bridge builder, and you can only build bridges if you are seen as ambitious yourself,” Frans Timmermans, EU climate policy chief said on Monday.
The policies being fast-tracked include a law to ban the sale of new fossil fuel cars in the EU by 2035, expanding Europe’s natural CO2-absorbing “sinks” like forests, and setting binding national emissions-cutting goals.
The EU is currently the world’s third-biggest polluter, behind the US and China. Its current target is to cut its net emissions by 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels, but officials hope it will be possible to nudge that goal higher, as parts of its policies have since been made more ambitious.
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