The European Commission said on November 7 that greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union were reduced by 23% between 1990 and 2016, while the economy grew by 53% over the same period.
As this year’s UN Climate Conference COP23 kick-start in Bonn, the latest Commission’s report “Two years after Paris – Progress towards meeting the EU’s climate commitments” shows that while economic growth has recently picked up, the EU remains firmly on track to meet its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.
Two years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the EU remains fully committed to reducing its domestic emissions by at least 40% between 1990 and 2030, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said.
“We are on track to meet our 2020 target and close to finalising our climate legislation for the next decade. Our emissions decline while the economy grows, largely thanks to innovative technologies, showing that growth and climate action can go hand in hand,” Cañete said. “However, there are still challenges ahead, as transport emissions in the EU continue to grow,” he added.
The Commission is expected to present on November 8 measures to slash emissions from cars and vans in the decade starting 2021, the Commissioner said.
Cañete said the EU expects this year’s COP23 to reaffirm once again the international community’s commitment to stepping up the global response to climate change and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Following the entry into force of the historic agreement last year, elaborating its implementing guidelines is now a key focus.
Cañete said the Paris Agreement has set the direction of travel for the global transition to a modern low-carbon economy. “The increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events we are witnessing across the world are a stark reminder of the urgency of the challenges we face. Now is the time to translate ambition into action and speed up implementation. COP23 will be a key moment to ensure that we are on track to meet our first deadline: completing the Paris work programme by 2018,” he added.
Under the Paris agreement, the EU has committed to cut CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 while modernising the EU’s economy and delivering on jobs and growth for all European citizens. In 2016, EU emissions decreased by 0.7% while GDP grew by 1.9%.
The EU is one of the major economies with the lowest per capita emissions, and the emissions per unit of GDP continue to fall. The progress report also looks at the EU’s contribution to international climate action.
In 2016, the EU and its Member States continued to be a major provider of climate finance to developing countries, increasing their overall contribution to last year reach €20.2 billion.
This year’s Conference of the Parties to COP23, presided over by Fiji, is taking place from November 6-17 in Bonn. The EU expects the conference to demonstrate clear progress on the development of the technical rules and guidelines for implementing the provisions of the Paris Agreement, for example on the transparency framework and the 5-year ambition cycle aimed at helping countries make progressively more ambitious contributions. The work programme is due to be adopted at the 2018 UN climate conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland.