Climate Action

EU leaders set October deadline for 2030 climate goals

Emissions reduction, renewable energy and energy efficiency high on the EU agenda at Brussels meeting

  • 21 March 2014
  • William Brittlebank

European Union leaders have set an October deadline for agreeing on climate change and renewable energy targets, after heads of member states met in Brussels on Thursday.

The EU’s efforts to curb climate change have been high on the agenda at the European Council’s two-day summit and it follows months of discussions over the form of the EU’s 2030 climate and energy framework; mainly focusing on carbon emissions reduction and how renewable and energy efficiency targets should be legislated.

One of the main points of debate has been the issue of binding national renewable energy targets. The European commission as well as the British government has so far been opposed to introducing renewable energy targets for individual nations.

In January, the commission voted for carbon emissions reduction targets of 40 per cent by 2030 and set an EU-wide target for renewable energy of 27 per cent, rather than setting a target for each member state.

In a later vote, the European parliament – whose verdict is not binding and can be ignored by EU leaders – seemed to side with these critics. MEPs voted in favour of a framework that would require all nations to generate at least 30 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2030.

A coalition of European renewable energy associations has urged the council to embrace renewable energy to reduce exposure to “volatile fossil fuel prices and insecure fossil fuel imports, especially in these days of geopolitical turmoil at our borders”.