Climate goals for 2030 in relation to 2 °C target

10-12-2012 | News item

A greenhouse gas reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels for 2030 for the European Union, to be achieved within Europe, would not necessarily be sufficient for achieving the target of limiting global temperature increase to 2 °C, given a possible lack of comparable efforts by other countries. Based on equal costs as a share of Gross Domestic Product, the European Union should reduce emissions by 45% to 47%.

The Dutch Government calls for a European target of 40% for 2030

The Dutch Government has called for a conditional, EU greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels for 2030, to be achieved within Europe, conditional on adequate action being taken globally and the adequate safeguarding of the competitive position of EU industries. To be able to define these conditions more concretely, the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency was asked to evaluate two specific issues:

  • Which of the efforts by other countries compare with such a 40% reduction target, taking into account differences in economic development;
  • What would be the economic impact for the EU if other countries were to take on less stringent or no climate targets.

40% reduction by the EU by 2030 not necessarily sufficient for achieving the 2 °C target

To arrive at a global emission level by 2030 that would be consistent with the 2 °C climate target, with equal costs as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for all countries, the EU would need to reduce emissions by 45% to 47% relative to the 1990 level.

EU welfare losses would increase by 0.1% under unilateral action

EU welfare losses resulting from achieving the EU 40% reduction target are projected to be about 0.3% in the case of global action and 0.4% in the case of EU unilateral action. In case of the latter, almost one third of the EU reduction is projected to be offset by emission increases elsewhere in the the world . This would mainly be due to lower energy prices caused by a decrease in EU energy demand, as the relocation of industries would play a much less important role.