Press release

EU agrees 'historic' deal to tackle climate change

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The European Union has reached a historic deal to cut greenhouse gasses by at least 40% domestically by 2030.

The European Union has reached a historic deal to cut greenhouse gasses by at least 40% domestically by 2030.

The target is part of a package of measures to make Europe’s energy system more secure, sustainable and competitive, announced today by European leaders at the European Council meeting in Brussels.

The agreement is a major win for the UK, which has been leading efforts in Europe for an ambitious but flexible deal that cuts carbon emissions whilst giving the UK and other Member States the flexibility to decide how they will decarbonise at least cost to consumers - while also improving energy security by reducing the EU’s reliance on imported energy. The UK’s Climate Change Act and Electricity Market Reforms have put the UK on a clear path to become a low carbon economy, which is further enhanced by these measures announced today with no expected additional cost impact for UK bill and tax payers.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said:

“This is a historic moment. Europe has sent a clear and firm message to the world that ambitious climate action is needed now. True to our word, we have delivered a highly ambitious EU climate target while also significantly strengthening Europe’s energy security by making us less reliant on imported energy. This morning only five countries in Europe had climate targets post 2020, now 28 countries do.

“The UK has been leading the climate debate pushing for an ambitious deal in Europe and by building alliances and working constructively with our European partners, we’ve agreed a package of measures that meet all the UK’s top priorities.

“It lays down the gauntlet to the world to come forward with ambitious climate targets, reforms EU energy policy so it’s flexible and affordable and tackles energy security - reducing Europe’s energy import bill for fossil fuels by around €285 billion by 2030.

“It’s good for consumers because we can decarbonise at the lowest possible cost using a diverse mix of technologies.

“And it’s good for business as it provides the certainty they have been calling for to unlock billions in low carbon investment.”

The key elements of the package are:

  • A binding domestic EU Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission reduction target of at least 40% by 2030. This:
    • Fulfils the Prime Minister’s call for the EU to agree a domestic EU GHG target for 2030 of at least 40% at the UN Climate Summit last month;

    • Keeps the EU on least cost path to meeting its 2050 goal of reducing EU emissions by between 80-95%;

    • Ensures all 28 EU Member States make significant emission reductions efforts through to 2030, creating a more level playing field for business;

    • Allows the EU to put pressure on other nations to bring similarly ambitious climate pledges ahead of the global climate talks in Paris next year.

  • A 27% EU level renewables target and 27% non-binding energy efficiency target that cannot be binding on Member States. This:
    • Ensures a substantial reform of EU energy policy, providing greater flexibility for the UK and others to design their low carbon energy mix at least cost, including renewables, energy efficiency, as well as nuclear, CCS and gas;

    • The Commission’s Impact Assessment also shows that these levels of renewables and energy efficiency would be delivered cost-effectively across Europe under a 40% GHG target.

  • Calls for the EU ETS to be reformed by including a Market Stability Reserve (MSR) as the UK has been calling for. See the DECC Policy paper released on 20th October

  • Extended and expanded EU level support – via an ‘Innovation Fund’ - for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) demonstration projects. As a leader in CCS technology in Europe, the UK is well-placed to capitalise on further EU funding support. The UK’s White Rose CCS project was awarded €300m under the existing NER300 programme.

  • This package fulfils the calls from business, investors and economists for the EU to urgently agree and ambitious 2030 package in order to provide long-term clarity over the EU’s post-2020 energy and climate policy framework such as:
    • A letter of 6th October to EU leaders from 57 major companies in Europe including Shell, Unilever, GlaxSmithKline and Kingfisher.
    • Calls from the UK’s CBI on 22nd October.
    • A letter of 22nd October from senior economists Thomas Piketty, Claudia Kemfert and Cameron Hepburn.
  • Overall, this package will significantly strengthen Europe’s Energy Security by:-
    • Cutting EU net energy imports by 14% in 2030 and cutting EU gas imports by 12% in 2030 (Source: Commission Energy Efficiency Impact Assessment, Table 5, p41);
    • Deliver average annual saving to the EU’s fossil fuel net import bill of €14bn a year between now and 2030 compared to reference scenario (Source: Commission Energy Efficiency Impact Assessment, Table 5, p41);
    • Deliver cumulative savings to 2030 of €285bn in reduced fossil fuel imports compared to reference scenario (Source: Commission Energy Efficiency Impact Assessment, Table 5, p41);

Notes for editors

The conclusions are now on the website. .