Climate Action

Progress made in cutting emissions

Policy

The EU is on track to meet its emissions reduction target for 2020 and is putting in place legislation to achieve its 2030 target.

In 2015, the EU was responsible for 10% of world greenhouse gas emissions. The EU is one of the major economies with the lowest per capita emissions.

2020 target

The EU is on track to meet the 20% target for 2020.

Latest figures:

  • EU emissions were reduced by 23% between 1990 and 2016, while the economy grew by 53% over the same period.
  • EU emissions decreased by 0.7% in 2016, while GDP grew by 1.9%.
  • The EU continues to be actively involved in international climate policy and increased its climate finance contributions to reach €20.2 billion in 2016.

The 2020 target excludes emissions from the land sector but includes emissions from international aviation.

Robust policies at EU and country level and the uptake of low-carbon technologies have contributed to the cuts achieved. Evaluations confirm that innovation, including progress on renewable energy and energy efficiency, has been the main driver behind the emission reductions in recent years, while the shift between economic sectors has had a marginal effect.

Further details:

  • 2017 progress report "Two years after Paris – Progress towards meeting the EU's climate commitments"

2030 target

The EU is putting in place legislation to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030 – part of the EU's 2030 climate and energy framework and contribution to the Paris Agreement.

This includes:

Kyoto targets

The EU and its Member States have met their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period. Also, the EU is on track to meet its targets under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Further details:

The Kyoto targets are different from the EU's own 2020 targets – they:

  • cover different sectors – for instance, land use, land use change & forestry (LULUCF) but not international aviation.
  • measure against different years (base years) – not always 1990
  • require the EU to keep its emissions at an average of 20% below base-year levels over the whole second period (2013-2020), not only by 2020.

Monitoring & reporting

Every year, the Commission publishes its climate action progress report. It also reports regularly to the UN.

Documentation

 Annual reports on progress towards achieving the Kyoto objectives

Studies