EU GHG Emissions Dropped 24% in 30 Years

By Ashira Morris, ODP Contributing Writer

Since 1990, the European Union has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 24 percent. It’s all part of the bloc’s goal of making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. The next big step toward that goal will be hitting a 55 percent reduction by 2030 — more than doubling the change over the last 30 years in the coming decade. The details of those goals will be hammered out in meetings next month. However, the percentages that these targets are tied to have their flaws. As Greta Thunberg pointed out, a big drop in EU emissions came from moving factories overseas. The current model for counting emissions doesn’t include consumption of goods produced outside of the bloc, meaning that everything from clothing to technology also goes unaccounted for. 

Why This Matters: Europe’s pledge to reach neutrality by 2050 is a legal commitment that guides banks, policies, and decision-making. Each of the EU’s 27 countries must now write its own plan for how to reach these targets. But if the current model of exporting emissions and not accounting for the end products remains, the continent’s colonial approach “reducing” its emissions will just be a shell game and add little real benefit globally. “There can be no climate justice unless we acknowledge the fact that we have dumped large parts of our emissions overseas, exploiting cheap labour and poor working conditions as well as weaker environmental regulations,” Thunberg wrote. “Because not only are the ones least responsible for the climate crisis suffering its consequences the most — we are now also blaming them for our emissions, as they are the ones producing the stuff we buy.”  

Another Accounting Loophole: In addition to exporting the industrial labor that produces emissions, the EU’s emissions accounting may also allow countries to offset emissions with carbon sinks like forests, oceans, and soils. Documents leaked earlier this fall gave countries the option to hit targets by counting carbon sinks toward their reductions. 

“This accounting trick by the commission would make any new target sound higher than it actually is,” Sebastian Mang, a Greenpeace climate and energy policy adviser told The Guardian. “You can’t win a 100-metre race if you get someone else to run the last 20 metres. That’s called cheating. Restoring nature is essential, but must be additional to efforts to cut emissions in the most polluting sectors.” 

 

Up Next

In the Biden Administration, “B” is for BIG

In the Biden Administration, “B” is for BIG

By Monica Medina, ODP Co-Founder and Co-Publisher The Biden administration is up and running. And if anyone in the country or the Democratic party thought the President would be a climate incrementalist they should think again. Like the Sesame Street bit or the Tom Hanks film, the word of the week in the White House […]

Continue Reading 1038 words
Congressional Republicans Rekindle Attacks on Paris Agreement

Congressional Republicans Rekindle Attacks on Paris Agreement

After President Biden rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement on his first day in office, Congressional Republicans didn’t skip a beat in attacking the move with bad faith messaging and false science. House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul released a press release calling the Paris Climate Agreement  “irresponsible and controversial.”  Senator Ted Cruz (TX) […]

Continue Reading 275 words
Greener Infrastructure and Fuel-Efficient Cars Are Widely Popular With the Public

Greener Infrastructure and Fuel-Efficient Cars Are Widely Popular With the Public

By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer In Pete Buttigieg’s confirmation hearing for Secretary of Transportation yesterday, he called out the “generational opportunity” at this moment to align our national infrastructure with climate goals. The American public is behind him.  According to a recent survey by Yale’s Climate Change Communications Center, 68% of registered voters support […]

Continue Reading 410 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.