Climate Targets: EU Chief Urges Increasing 2030 Emissions-Reducing Target to 55%

Date: 2020-09-16 12:35:01

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The European Union’s executive proposed toughening the bloc’s targets for fighting climate change in a move to cut industrial pollution and spur a green economic recovery.

The 27-nation EU should tighten its emissions-cutting goal to at least 55% by 2030, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday. The current objective, agreed just six years ago, is a cut of 40% from 1990 levels.

“I recognize that this increase from 40% to 55% is too much for some, and not enough for others,” von der Leyen told the European Parliament in Brussels during her first state-of-the-union speech. “But our impact assessment clearly shows that our economy and industry can manage this.”

Von der Leyen has spent 10 months in crisis-management mode as a result of the coronavirus pandemic while pressing ahead with plans for a green overhaul of the European economy, a digital-investment drive and more global free trade.

In addition to the pandemic, von der Leyen’s commission has faced jolts as a result of Turkey’s muscle-flexing over energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, the poisoning in Russia of an opposition leader, Chinese curbs on autonomy in Hong Kong and a U.K. pledge to rewrite part of the hard-fought Brexit accord.

The pandemic has handed the 61-year-old von der Leyen a chance to accelerate her plans to make her European Green Deal the engine of economic recovery as governments mobilize unprecedented amounts of public money for the rebuilding effort.

More than a third of the bloc’s 750-billion-euro ($890 billion) economic-rescue package is to be spent on Green Deal-related actions, von der Leyen said. And when the commission taps financial markets to finance the plan, it wants to raise 225 billion euros through green bonds.

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