Transforming our economy and societies
Climate change is the biggest challenge of our times. And it is an opportunity to build a new economic model.
The European Green Deal set the blueprint for this transformational change.
All 27 EU Member States committed to turning the EU into the first climate neutral continent by 2050. To get there, they pledged to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
This will create new opportunities for innovation and investment and jobs, as well as:
- reduce emissions
- create jobs and growth
- address energy poverty
- reduce external energy dependency
- improve our health and wellbeing
At the same time, it will ensure there are opportunities for everyone, supporting vulnerable citizens by tackling inequality and energy poverty, and strengthening the competitiveness of European companies.
Making transport sustainable for all
Our transition to greener mobility will offer clean, accessible and affordable transport even in the most remote areas.
The European Commission proposes more ambitious targets for reducing the CO2 emissions of new cars and vans.
- 55% reduction of emissions from cars by 2030
- 50% reduction of emissions from vans by 2030
- 0 emissions from new cars by 2035
The Commission also promotes the growth of the market for zero- and low- emissions vehicles. In particular, it seeks to ensure that citizens have the infrastructure they need to charge these vehicles, for short and long journeys.
In addition, from 2026, road transport will be covered by emissions trading, putting a price on pollution, stimulating cleaner fuel use, and re-investing in clean technologies.
The Commission is also proposing carbon pricing for the aviation sector, which benefited from an exception until now. It is also proposing to promote sustainable aviation fuels – with an obligation for planes to take on sustainable blended fuels for all departures from EU airports.
To ensure a fair contribution from the maritime sector to the effort to decarbonise our economy, the Commission proposes to extend carbon pricing to this sector. The Commission will also set targets for major ports to serve vessels with onshore power, reducing the use of polluting fuels that also harm local air quality.
Leading the third industrial revolution
The green transition presents a major opportunity for European industry by creating markets for clean technologies and products.
These new proposals will have an impact across entire value chains in sectors such as energy and transport, and construction and renovation, helping create sustainable, local and well-paid jobs across Europe.
- 35 million buildings could be renovated by 2030
- 160,000 additional green jobs could be created in the construction sector by 2030
The electrification of the economy and the greater use of renewable energy are expected to generate higher employment in these sectors. Increasing the energy efficiency of buildings will also create jobs in construction, with local labour in higher demand.
We want to preserve our climate ambition by avoiding that efforts by our industry to cut emissions are undermined by unfair competition from abroad.
Therefore, the Commission proposes a mechanism to ensure that, even when they are from countries with less strict climate rules, companies importing into the EU have to pay a carbon price as well.
Cleaning our energy system
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 requires higher shares of renewable energy and greater energy efficiency.
The Commission proposes to increase the binding target of renewable sources in the EU’s energy mix to 40%. The proposals promote the uptake of renewable fuels, such as hydrogen in industry and transport, with additional targets.
In addition, reducing energy consumption is essential to bring down both emissions and energy costs for consumers and industry. The Commission proposes to increase energy efficiency targets at EU level and make them binding, to achieve by 2030 an overall reduction of 36-39% for final and primary energy consumption.
- 40% new renewable energy target for 2030
- 36-39% new 2030 energy efficiency targets for final and primary energy consumption
The tax system for energy products must also support the green transition by giving the right incentives. The Commission proposes to align the minimum tax rates for heating and transport with our climate objectives, while mitigating the social impact and supporting vulnerable citizens.
Renovating buildings for greener lifestyles
Renovating our homes and buildings will save energy, protect against extremes of heat or cold and tackle energy poverty.
The new Social Climate Fund will support EU citizens most affected or at risk of energy or mobility poverty. It will help mitigate the costs for those most exposed to changes, to ensure that the transition is fair and leaves no one behind.
It will provide EUR 72.2 billion over 7 years in funding for renovation of buildings, access to zero and low emission mobility, or even income support.
In addition to homes, public buildings must also be renovated to use more renewable energy, and to be more energy efficient.
The Commission proposes to:
- require Member States to renovate at least 3% of the total floor area of all public buildings annually
- set a benchmark of 49% of renewables in buildings by 2030
- require Member States to increase the use of renewable energy in heating and cooling by +1.1 percentage points each year, until 2030
Working with nature to protect our planet and health
Nature is an important ally in the fight against climate change.
Restoring nature and enabling biodiversity to thrive again offers a quick and cheap solution to absorb and store carbon.
The Commission proposes therefore to restore Europe’s forests, soils, wetlands and peatlands. This will increase absorption of CO2 and will make our environment more resilient to climate change.
A circular and sustainable management of these resources will
- improve our living conditions
- maintain a healthy environment
- create quality jobs
- provide sustainable energy resources
New targets for natural carbon removals:
- -225 Mt old target
- -268 Mt current carbon removals
- -310 Mt new target
Bioenergy contributes to the phase-out of fossil fuels and the decarbonisation of the EU economy. But it must be used sustainably. The Commission proposes strict new criteria to avoid unsustainable forest harvesting and to protect areas of high-biodiversity value.
Boosting global climate action
We can only solve the global threat of climate change by working with our international partners.
The European Green Deal has already set a positive example and led major international partners to set their own target dates for climate neutrality.
With investment in renewable energy technologies, we are developing expertise and products that will also benefit the rest of the world.
With the shift to green transport, we will create world leading companies which can serve a growing global market. By working with our international partners, we will reduce emissions together in maritime transport and aviation around the world.
The EU will share these proposals and ideas with its international partners at the UN’s COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.
- 30% of the EU's Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument supports climate objectives
- 1/3 of the world's public climate finance comes from the EU and its Member States
- December 2019
Commission presents European Green Deal, committing to climate neutrality by 2050
- March 2020
Commission proposes European Climate Law to write 2050 climate neutrality target into binding legislation
- September 2020
Commission proposes new EU target to reduce net emissions by at least 55% by 2030, and add it to the European Climate Law
- December 2020
European leaders endorse Commission’s proposed target to reduce net emissions by at least 55% by 2030
- April 2021
Political agreement reached on European Climate Law by European Parliament and Member States
- June 2021
European Climate Law enters into force
- July 2021
Commission presents package of proposals to transform our economy, to reach our 2030 climate targets. European Parliament and Member States to negotiate and adopt package of legislation on reaching our 2030 climate targets
- September 2021
EU to deliver a reduction of emissions of at least 55% compared to 1990 levels
EU to become climate neutral