Story at a glance

  • Greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 3.7 percent in 2019 compared with the previous year.
  • The EU report said the coronavirus pandemic is expected to lead to an unprecedented drop in emissions in 2020 of about 8 percent.
  • Officials said more has to be done, however, if the EU wants to reach its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union have declined by 24 percent compared to 1990 levels but officials say more needs to be done if the EU wants to reach its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

The annual EU Climate Action Progress Report released by the European Commission Monday said greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 3.7 percent in 2019 compared to 2018 while gross domestic product rose 1.5 percent over the same period. 


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The report said the coronavirus pandemic is expected to lead to an unprecedented drop in emissions in 2020. The European Commission projects global greenhouse gas emissions will drop by about 8 percent. Officials warned, however, that a swift economic recovery may lead to a rapid rebound in emissions “unless policy gears stimulus measures toward the green transition.” 

“The European Union is proving it is possible to reduce emissions and grow your economy,” Frans Timmermans, executive vice president for the European Green Deal, said in a statement

“However, today’s report again confirms we need to step up our efforts across all sectors of the economy to reach our common goal of climate neutrality by 2050. The transition is feasible if we stick to our commitment and seize the opportunities of the recovery to reboot our economy in a greener, more resilient way and create a healthy, sustainable future for all,” Timmermans said. 

The EU is aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030, but the commission recently proposed the target be raised to at least 55 percent of 1990 levels over the next 10 years. 

Leaders of the 27 nations that make up the EU are expected to come to a consensus on the proposal during a summit this month.


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Published on Dec 01, 2020