EU leaders have agreed to set an ambitious target of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent over the next decade.
The figure marks a significant increase on a target to reduce emissions by 40 per cent set in September. The deal comes after more than 10 hours of intense discussions overnight, as several EU member states pushed back on the rise.
Poland led a caucus of coal-dependent central European countries demanding guarantees on funding to pay for a clean energy transition.
The agreement secured overnight included promises of financial and regulatory support for those countries, as well as assurances they can use nuclear power and natural gas to replace more carbon-intensive fossil fuels.
“Great way to celebrate the first anniversary of our #EUGreenDeal!,” tweeted EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “Europe will reduce emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030. It puts us on a clear path towards climate neutrality in 2050.”
Von der Leyen has previously called the EU Green Deal “Europe’s man on the moon moment”. The deal aims to transform the bloc from a high to a low-carbon economy, without reducing prosperity among its 27 member states.
EU Council President Charles Michel also praised the fresh target for reducing emissions, tweeing:”Europe is the leader in the fight against climate change.”
The final deal must still be hammered out with the European Parliament, which is pushing for a higher reduction in emissions of 60 percent.
The two-day summit in Brussels will continue today, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempts to thrash out a last-minute trade deal with the EU ahead of Britain’s exit from the bloc in just 20 days.
Both sides have agreed a final deadline of Sunday to reach a trade deal, with Johnson promising to walk away with a no-deal Brexit if compromises cannot be agreed by then.
“Very large gaps remain between the two sides and it is still unclear whether these can be bridged,” a Downing Street source said last night.