Leaders of all 27 Member States met in Brussels Thursday evening to discuss the EU’s climate ambitions for the next seven years, with some leaders feeling that the costs may outweigh the benefits.
At the European Council summit, leaders discussed the EU’s climate goal of reducing greenhouse emissions by 55% by 2030, as proposed by the European Parliament. Previously, the goal had been a reduction of 40% compared to 1990.
The reduction is needed to make the EU the world’s first climate-neutral continent, the Parliament argued, for which it is necessary to bring emissions down by 60% by 2050 (instead of the initial 55% reduction).
“It is clear that some countries have mentioned the need for strategies, flexibilities,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo (Open-VLD) said.
“Other countries, such as Belgium, have stressed the importance of taking into account 'cost-effectiveness’.”
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Belgium is one of 16 Member States that do not (yet) support the 55% emission reduction by 2030.
The level of reduction by 2030 is “for me, above all a long-term discussion on technology, on the leadership to be taken in this area,” de Croo said.
“With high ambition, this is an opportunity to take the lead in this area,” de Croo added.
“Belgium is not going to save the climate, but Belgian technology could, or European technology could.”
Both Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boïko Borissov have stressed the consideration of the economic impact of the climate goals, as some countries rely on coal and mining.
Belgium was told by the European Commission on Thursday that it needs to do better on its climate plan for 2021-2030. In the evaluation of the report, the Commission called the plan “unambitious”, as it proposed a 17% reduction of greenhouse emissions by 2030. It also lacked “ specific policy objectives and measures”.
The Brussels Times