Environment agenda: EU climate talks enter decisive phase

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The European Commission will table proposals next month to raise the EU’s climate target for 2030, amid warnings from Eastern countries to safeguard jobs and growth from the coronavirus fallout.

An “impact assessment” study, due also in September, will evaluate the costs and benefits of raising the EU’s 2030 climate goals, in line with the bloc’s overarching objective of cutting emissions down to net-zero by mid-century.

“We are working on the impact assessment as well as the proposal to come out in September,” said Vivian Loonela, the EU Commission spokesperson in charge of the European Green Deal, according to Euractiv.com.

The objective is to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions to “at least 50%” below 1990 levels “and towards 55%,” Loonela said at a regular press briefing on Tuesday (18 August).

The Commission’s cost-benefit study will come under intense scrutiny from European capitals, which have grown wary about the economic burden of higher climate goals at a time when the coronavirus crisis is sending the EU economy into recession.

While some industries are expected to grow – like renewables, energy and construction – some like oil, gas and coal are set to “decline” while others like the car sector “are likely to transform,” the European Commission admitted in a preliminary analysis published in March.

Based on the full study – which is expected to be hundreds of pages long – the EU executive will then decide whether to propose an EU-wide emissions reduction target of 50 or 55% by 2030, up from 40% currently.

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