EU submits new climate target to United Nations

The German Council Presidency, together with the European Commission, submitted the increased national climate target of the EU and its member states to the United Nations.

Today, the German Council Presidency and the European Commission jointly submitted the higher Nationally Determined Contribution of the EU and its member states to the United Nations. By doing so, the EU commits to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030. By making its target more ambitious, the EU is setting the stage for the climate neutral, forward-looking transformation of its economy.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze commented: "It is a good day for global climate action. The EU is proving its commitment to the Paris Agreement once again today. In 2015 in Paris, the international community promised to step up its climate efforts every five years. The EU is keeping its promise. The new European Nationally Determined Contribution comes just in time for the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement and it is exemplary at international level. The new target means nothing less than doubling the speed of climate action in the EU this decade. This sends an important message internationally, as we can now credibly urge our international partners to follow us on this path. I expect that there will be many more contributions submitted before the next UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in just under a year."

The new EU Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement was accepted by the European environment ministers yesterday. One week earlier, the European Council of EU heads of state and government decided to step up the EU climate target for 2030 from a 40 percent to a 55 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with 1990 levels.

The ambition mechanism of the Paris Agreement calls on all parties to update their NDCs every five years and make them as ambitious as possible, with the aim of gradually coming closer to the agreement’s goal: limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees and if possible to less than 1.5 degrees.

After the sobering end of the Madrid Climate Change Conference in 2019 and the delay of the next conference to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been great concern that this key year will be a lost year for climate action. The opposite has come to pass: the EU announcement of its climate neutrality goal during the conference in Madrid set an example that many economies, even large ones, have followed. Japan, South Korea, Canada and the United Kingdom and others, and perhaps soon the US, are planning on climate neutrality by 2050. China has pledged to become climate neutral by 2060.

Along with the EU, 16 countries have also submitted new NDCs to the UNFCCC Secretariat. More are on the way. At the Climate Ambition Summit on the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement on 12 December, 44 additional countries announced more ambitious NDCs for 2030.

18.12.2020 | Press release No. 238/20 | Climate