What is the EU’s plan to tackle global heating – and will it work?

EU member states will face tougher targets and goals to increase renewable energy

In 2019 the European parliament declared a “climate and environmental emergency”. In 2020 EU leaders pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by the end of this decade. Now comes the hard part: turning promises into policies to curb dangerous global heating.

EU member states will face tougher greenhouse gas reduction targets and goals to increase renewable energy by 2030. The EU as a whole will aim to get 40% of its energy from renewable sources by the end of the decade.

Pollution will become more expensive for electricity generators and heavy industry, under the European emissions trading system (ETS). The ETS cap on emissions will be tightened. Free allowances will be phased out from 2030 onwards, slowly driving up the cost of pollution.

Foreign companies importing steel, aluminium and other carbon-intensive products into the EU will have to buy allowances to sell their goods into the European single market. The “carbon border adjustment mechanism” is intended to protect EU companies from losing out to more lightly regulated rivals.

A new emissions trading system would be set up by 2025 for fuel producers supplying buildings and road transport. To head off critics warning of higher energy bills, the EU executive wants to create a €144.4bn (£123.2bn) fund to help people pay for energy efficiency upgrades to their homes and greener cars, with €72bn of that coming from the EU budget.

After years of slow progress, the EU will overhaul what officials call its “outdated” energy taxation law, to phase out tax breaks for fossil fuels in EU aviation and shipping.

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