A breakthrough deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, has been reached by EU leaders.news
The decision, which was contested by some countries due to the impact on certain national interests, also sees an increase in renewable energy usage to 27 per cent in the total energy mix and increase energy efficiency to at least 27 per cent.
President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, said afterwards that some poorer EU members would get help – including additional funds – in reaching the agreed targets.
Poland, which is heavily reliant on coal, fears that the costs of decarbonising its economy will slow business growth. Its concerns at the summit were echoed by other central and east European members.
The UK also had opposed nationally binding targets for renewables – mainly wind, solar and hydroelectric power.
The UK is embracing shale gas and nuclear as alternatives to the current over-reliance on oil and gas imports.
Leaders had been cautious about the prospect of a deal, before holding talks late into the night.
EU commissioner for climate action Connie Hedegaard said she was “very proud” that the leaders “were able to get their act together on this pressing climate challenge”.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We made a decisive step forward.”
The EU is already on target to cut its CO2 emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, compared with 1990 emission levels.