Greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union have been reduced by 24% compared to 1990 levels, according to the bloc’s annual climate report, but the EU said Monday it still needs to intensify efforts to keep to its target of making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by mid-century. The Associated Press reports: The EU’s executive arm said Monday that emissions in the 27-nation bloc have decreased by 3.7% in 2019 compared to the previous year, while gross domestic product rose 1.5% over the same period. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the commission expects “an unprecedented fall in emissions” in 2020, along the lines of 8%. “However, as experienced in the past, a swift economic recovery may lead to a strong and rapid rebound in emissions, unless policy gears its stimulus measures toward the green transition,” the commission wrote in the report.
In its report, the commission said emissions covered by the Emissions Trading System — a cap-and-trade scheme for industries to buy carbon credits covering about 40% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions — saw the biggest drop in 2019, falling by 9.1%, or about 152 million tons carbon dioxide equivalent. […] To accelerate the transition, the commission has also proposed that member states raise their climate ambitions above the existing target of a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030, proposing to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels. Leaders discussed the offer last month but could not immediately agree on an updated goal as reducing emissions by another 30% within the next decade poses a big challenge to many EU countries. They will try to find a consensus during a December summit ahead of the adoption of the first-ever European climate law.