The European Union has exceeded the objectives set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The initial aim by 2020 was to reduce emissions by 20% compared to 1990 – this was exceeded by 11%, as estimated data shows that emissions were 31% lower in 2020. While this is certainly good news, longer term predictions are still not wholly optimistic.
A large drop in emissions in 2020 was a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, the predicted net reduction by 2030 would be only 41%, while the target is 55% for the beginning of the next decade. Looking further into the future, by 2050, according to the EU Green Deal objectives, the continent should become completely climate neutral.
‘Fit for 55’ is an overarching legislation package, that aims to deliver these goals. In addition, pollution-heavy sectors are involved in the EU Emissions Trading System, that incentivizes lower pollution. The effects of the ETS are demonstrated by the impressive 40% emission reduction amongst participating power plants and factories. The Effort Sharing Decision introduced national emission reduction targets – on a national level, energy efficiency was improved, and less carbon-intensive fuels were used.
The results and future challenges are well illustrated by the infographics, which can be seen here, alongside some additional information.