EU countries hold first exchange on 2040 climate target

(EurActiv, 16 Jan 2024) Several EU countries have expressed support for plans to target a 90% emissions cut relative to 1990 levels by 2040, and while Hungary is sceptical, France and Germany have yet to take a stance.

The European Commission is due to publish the EU’s climate target plan for 2040 in a proposal due on 6 February.

While the bloc has already committed to reduce emissions by at least 55% relative to 1990 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050, the intermediate target will be the EU executive’s climate “legacy,”activists have said. 

The EU’s 27 environment ministers gathered in Brussels on 15 January to hold a first exchange on the issue and weigh on the Commission’s decision. 

Wopke Hoekstra, the EU’s Climate Commissioner, has already made clear that he “will defend a minimum target of at least 90% net reduction by 2040,” in line with the advice from the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change, which recommended a 90-95% range.

“There is no alternative than to respect the red lines of the planet,” Hoekstra said as he walked into the Brussels meeting. 

Yet, the Dutchman added that it would be “tremendously important going forward” to balance industrial competitiveness with climate action.

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EurActiv, 16 Jan 2024: EU countries hold first exchange on 2040 climate target