As part of her first State of the Union address on 16 September 2020, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has announced the intention to raise the EU’s 2030 climate target from a 40% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030 (based on a 1990 baseline), to 55%.
The speech focused largely on the impact of COVID-19, the need to boost the economic recovery, support further health co-operation and roll out the Next Generation EU programme. But von der Leyen repeatedly linked the climate target and European Green Deal (EGD) with economic recovery from COVID-19, noting the opportunity for the development of new industries and the ‘creation of millions of new jobs’ that would come about as part of the low-carbon transition.
The increased target was foreseen in the European Green Deal which proposed a 50-55% target, but the upper figure was resisted in some quarters. Following a wide public consultation and impact assessment, the figure of ‘at least 55%’ was deemed feasible. “The 2030 target is ambitious, achievable, and beneficial for Europe,” said von der Leyen.
To give the new targets effect, the European Institutions will revise all climate and energy regulations by next summer.
As well as the new target, von der Leyen also touched upon other aspects of the EGD, outlining that tackling environmental challenges will need more than just emissions reductions, but also fundamental and systemic change to our current material consumption of natural resources.
To support the EGD, the President announced that 37% of Next Generation EU’s 750billion EUR will be spent on its objectives, and at least 30% of the budget is to be raised through green bonds.