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Last modified: May 25, 2021

EU Green Deal

Carbon Neutrality by 2050

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has prioritized her presidency (2019-2024)  around greening and transforming the EU economy to become carbon neutral by 2050 through the politically ambitious “EU Green Deal.” As part of the European Green Deal, the European Commission is publishing sector-specific strategies to reach the objective of carbon neutrality by 2050 and to transform the EU economy to be more sustainable such as the Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F) or the Biodiversity Strategy.

As part of the Green Deal, the Commission proposed the EU Climate Law which makes the objectives of the EU Green Deal legally binding for the European Union and the Member States. The proposal also includes a reduction of net GHG emissions by at least 55 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2030. The text  also empowers the Commission to adopt legislation setting out a trajectory to reach carbon-neutrality by 2050, starting from the 2030 target.

2020 target Current 2030 target Proposed 2030 target Proposed 2050 target
– 20% – 40% – 55% – 100%

Table 1: EU targets and Commission’s proposed targets for net reduction of GHG emissions compared to 1990 levels.

Upcoming legislative proposals 

As of mid-2021, the Commission has started preparatory work, but most draft legislative proposals are expected in the coming years. On October 20, 2020, the European Commission adopted its 2021 Work Program setting out the actions the Commission aims to take in 2021. To achieve the Green Deal objective of climate neutrality by 2050, the Commission announced that in 2021 it will table a legislative package (“Fit for 55”) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030. This will cover wide-ranging policy areas including renewable energy, land use and forestry. The Commission will also publish a proposal for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism on the risk of carbon leakage[1]. In addition, the Commission will propose legislation to implement Europe’s Circular Economy Action Plan, the EU Biodiversity Strategy, and the F2F. For more information about the Work Program, see: EU Commission Presents its 2021 Work Program.

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