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EU Commission: greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 90% by 2040

“With the right policies and support, the agricultural sector can play a role in the transition”

The European Commission has published a detailed impact assessment on possible pathways to achieve the agreed objective of making the European Union climate neutral by 2050. Based on this assessment, the Commission recommends a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions greenhouse by 90% by 2040 compared to 1990 levels, starting a discussion with all interested parties; a legislative proposal will be presented by the next Commission, after the European elections, and agreed with the European Parliament and Member States, as required by EU climate legislation. This recommendation is in line with the advice of the European Scientific Advisory Committee on Climate Change (ESABCC) and with the commitments undertaken by the EU under the Paris Agreement.

Today's Communication also establishes a number of favorable policy conditions that are necessary to reach the 90% target. They include the full implementation of the agreed framework for 2030, ensuring the competitiveness of European industry, a greater focus on a just transition that leaves no one behind, a level playing field with international partners and a strategic dialogue on the post-2030 framework, also with industry and the agricultural sector. "The results of COP28 in Dubai show that the rest of the world is moving in the same direction," reads a note from the Commission. “The European Union has been at the forefront of international climate action and should stay the course, creating opportunities for European industry to thrive in new global markets for clean technologies.”

The Commission has already launched formal dialogues with industry and agricultural stakeholders, and the next few months of political debate in Europe represent an important opportunity to secure public commitment on the next steps and policy choices. "With the right policies and support, the agricultural sector can play a role in the transition, while ensuring sufficient food production in Europe, guaranteeing fair incomes and providing other essential services, such as strengthening the capacity of soils and forests to store more carbon", explains the Commission note. “A global dialogue with the wider food industry, including off-farm, is critical to success in this sector and to the development of sustainable business models and practices.”

Achieving the recommended 90% target will require both emissions reductions and carbon removals. This will require the deployment of carbon capture and storage technologies, as well as the use of captured carbon in industry. The EU's industrial carbon management strategy will support the development of CO2 supply chains and the necessary CO2 transport infrastructure. Carbon capture should be targeted at sectors where emissions are difficult to abate, where alternatives are less economically viable. Carbon removals will also be necessary to generate negative emissions after 2050.

Attached to this EFA News is the communication from the European Commission on climate neutrality.

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EFA News - European Food Agency