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By 2050, Europe aims to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent.
Alongside reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the EU is also taking action to adapt to the impacts of climate change. By 2050, Europe aims to be a climate-resilient society.
European Green Deal
Climate action is at the heart of the European Green Deal – an ambitious package of measures ranging from ambitiously cutting greenhouse gas emissions, to investing in cutting-edge research and innovation, to preserving Europe’s natural environment.
First climate action initiatives under the Green Deal include:
- European Climate Law to enshrine the 2050 climate-neutrality objective into EU law
- European Climate Pact to engage citizens and all parts of society in climate action
- 2030 Climate Target Plan to further reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030
- New EU Strategy on Climate Adaptation to make Europe a climate-resilient society by 2050, fully adapted to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
On 14 July 2021, the European Commission adopted a series of legislative proposals setting out how it intends to achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050, including the intermediate target of an at least 55% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The package proposes to revise several pieces of EU climate legislation, including the EU ETS, Effort Sharing Regulation, transport and land use legislation, setting out in real terms the ways in which the Commission intends to reach EU climate targets under the European Green Deal.
At international level, the EU will continue to lead international negotiations to increase the ambition of major emitters ahead of the United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow (COP26).
The Commission is also keen to reduce its environmental impact as an institution and employer. It will present a comprehensive action plan in 2021 to reflect the objectives of the Green Deal across all its sites and become climate neutral by 2030. A feasibility and scoping study for the Commission to become climate neutral by 2030 has been carried out to inform the action plan.
Key EU legislation and policies
- EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, industry and flights within the EU
- National targets for sectors outside emissions trading, such as transport, buildings and agriculture
- Ensuring our forests and land contribute to the fight against climate change
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport, e.g. through CO2 emission standards for vehicles
- Boosting energy efficiency, renewable energy and governance of EU countries’ energy and climate policies
- Promoting innovative low-carbon technologies
- Phasing down climate-warming fluorinated greenhouse gases
- Protecting the ozone layer
- Adapting to the impacts of climate change
- Funding climate action
The EU is actively working with other countries and regions to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The EU is also a top provider of international climate finance to support developing countries in their efforts to tackle climate change.
Aligning action in all areas
Fighting climate change and achieving the transition to a climate-neutral society will require significant investments, research and innovation, new ways of producing and consuming, and changes in the way we work, use transport and live together.
The EU is addressing this by aligning action in key areas, for example:
- Mobility and transport
- Regional policy and the low-carbon economy
- Sustainable finance
- Industrial policy
- Trade and sustainable development
- International cooperation and development
- Research and innovation on climate change
- Sustainable development goals