EU. Commission Rules 90% Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2040

The proposal, defined as a “cry of alarm,” should mobilize European countries to step up the fight against climate change

A net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 90% by 2040 from 1990 levels. This is the EC’s February 6 proposal to EU member states to “strengthen the fight against climate change and achieve full carbon neutrality by 2050.”

At the moment, this is not a regulatory proposal, but a mere “recommendation” from the European Commission. “What we are proposing is a thorough analysis of what a good pathway to 2040 might look like,” said European Commissioner for Climate Action Wopke Hoekstra.

But the target sought by the European Commission could soon become an actual legislative proposal, and if approved, it would mean “the need to continue to reduce emissions at the same pace as in the 2020-2030 decade.” The rules to achieve these goals are strongly opposed by many EU member states, so Brussels has had to point out that it is necessary to find a system for a “fair transition” that “guarantees the competitiveness of European industry.”

The European Commission’s proposal says the economic damage caused by climate change has been estimated at more than $180 billion dollars over the past five years. According to Brussels experts, global warming and other negative climatic phenomena threaten to cause – until the end of the 21st century – the reduction of the gross domestic product of the Old Continent by 7%.

In its proposal, the European Commission cited some “fundamental principles” of a pathway to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, starting with the need to achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% over the next 6 years, as already envisioned in the Green Deal. In addition, there is a proposal to support the competitiveness of European industry and agriculture, the need to take measures to make the ecological transition fair from a social point of view as well.

The message is a real “cry of alarm,” has only indicative value, does not propose new concrete measures, and does not set new sectoral objectives. The aim of the current European Commission is to start a political debate and give a direction to be followed by the next Commission and the new European Parliament that will be created after the June 2024 European elections. “The decision to submit a legislative proposal will be up to the next commission,” said Hoekstra.