Activist countries

EU countries agree to raise climate change target next year

By Kate Abnett and Bart H. Meijer

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union countries agreed on Monday to raise their target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris climate accord next year, as the bloc is trying to rally the ambition of major emitters ahead of this year’s UN climate talks.

Climate ministers from EU countries on Monday endorsed their common negotiating position for the UN summit in November, which was to serve as a deadline for nearly 200 countries to step up their climate pledges.

Most countries did not submit new targets. The 27-nation EU, the world’s third-largest polluter, pledged on Monday to raise its target “as soon as possible”, but said that could not be done until the bloc finished negotiating a dozen new emission reduction laws.

EU countries have agreed to conclude those negotiations by the end of this year – a tight deadline for the dozen laws, which include a ban on new sales of fossil fuel cars by 2035 and an overhaul of the EU carbon market.

EU officials told Reuters the bloc was rushing to reach agreements on three policies in time for the November 7 COP27 summit.

The EU’s current target is to reduce its net emissions by 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. EU officials hope that it will be possible to push this target higher, because the The climate policy package was designed in July 2021 to meet the 55% emissions target – and parts of it have since been made more ambitious.

For example, in May Brussels raised proposed EU targets to develop renewable energy and increase energy savings, in an attempt to end countries’ dependence on Russian fuels after the invasion of Ukraine by Moscow.

Ministers also agreed on Monday that the EU would support listing ‘loss and damage’ – the controversial topic of compensating for the damage that floods, rising seas and other impacts of climate change inflict on the poorest. of the world – on the agenda of the COP27 meeting in Egypt.

This could represent a breakthrough, as even putting the issue on the summit’s agenda has proven controversial. The EU and US are under pressure from developing countries to ease their longstanding resistance to such compensation.

EU countries, however, remained vague on what the loss and damage talks at the summit should ultimately lead to.

Developing countries say COP27 must create a fund to support countries hit by climate impacts like the floods in Pakistan this year that killed nearly 1,700 people.

(Reporting by Kate Abnett and Bart Meijer; Editing by David Holmes and Mark Potter)