A binding 40 per cent target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below 1990 levels has been set by the European Union.
This target must be met by 2030 with at least 27 per cent of energy coming from renewable sources.
The new EU framework on climate and energy for 2030 was presented by the European Commission and is intended to provide regulatory certainty for investors and a coordinated approach among Member States, leading to the development of new technologies.
It aims to drive continued progress towards a low-carbon economy and a competitive and secure energy system.
A legislative proposal for a market stability reserve for the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) starting in 2021 to improve robustness has also been published.
European Commission president José Manuel Barroso said: “Climate action is central for the future of our planet, while a truly European energy policy is key for our competitiveness. Today’s package proves that tackling the two issues simultaneously is not contradictory, but mutually reinforcing.
“It is in the EU’s interest to build a job-rich economy that is less dependent on imported energy through energy efficiency and greater reliance on domestically produced clean energy.
“An ambitious 40 per cent greenhouse reduction target for 2030 is the most cost-effective milestone in our path towards a low-carbon economy. And the renewables target of at least 27 per cent is an important signal: to give stability to investors, boost green jobs and support our security of supply.”
European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard added: “In spite of all those arguing that nothing ambitious would come out of the Commission today, we did it. A 40 per cent emissions reduction is the most cost-effective target for the EU and it takes account of our global responsibility.
“And of course, Europe must continue its strong focus on renewables. This is why it matters that the Commission is proposing today a binding EU-level target. The details of the framework will now have to be agreed, but the direction for Europe has been set. If all other regions were equally ambitious about tackling climate change, the world would be in significantly better shape.”