Climate change: what the EU is doing

By Jenny Brunton, Senior European Policy Advisor, British Agriculture Bureau.

The EU has adopted ambitious legislation across multiple policy areas to implement its international commitments on climate change. EU countries have set binding emission targets for key sectors of the economy to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

By 2017, the EU had reduced its emissions by almost 22% compared to 1990, reaching its 2020 emission reduction target three years ahead of schedule.

In December 2020, in light of the EU’s commitment to increase its climate ambition in line with the Paris Agreement, EU leaders endorsed a binding EU target for a net domestic reduction of at least 55% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 – a substantial step up from the EU’s previous 2030 target of cutting emissions by 40%.

In April 2021, the Council and the Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the European climate law which aims to set into law the 2030 emissions reduction target. The agreement was adopted by EU ministers in June 2021.

The European climate law set the EU's objective of becoming climate-neutral by 2050 into legislation. This goal followed the commitment made by the EU and its member states on signing the Paris Agreement in 2015.

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