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In 2018b). In addition to these targets,

In order to transform its economic system into a low-carbon economy, the EU has set itself some targets for reducing its greenhouse emissions by 2050. These targets are part of a detailed roadmap whose preeminent deadlines are 2020, 2030 and 2050 (European Commission, 2018b). In addition to these targets, the EU is bound to different commitments such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. The different targets and strategies represent a good example in leading other states into taking measures for eco-friendly policies. However, despite the EU and the Member States’ ambitious goals to fight climate change, it appears that the projected reductions of European GHG emissions in result of implemented policies might be inadequate for the EU to reach its 2050 decarbonisation target (Carvalho, 2012).Climate change is among the largest environmental, social and economic challenges currently facing humanity. It is also a cross-border problem requiring coherent EU action, starting with the 2020 climate and energy package, which is a set of binding legislation lied down to ensure the EU meets its climate targets for the year 2020 (Birchfield et al., 2011). The main objectives are to cut 20% of all GHG emissions (from 1990 levels), to generate 20% of EU energy from renewable sources, and to have a 20% improvement in energy efficiency (European Commission, 2018b). Furthermore, the European institutions in fact looked beyond the 2020 objectives and set out a plan to meet the long-term target of reducing domestic emissions by 80-95% by mid-century. The sectors responsible for the largest amounts of GHG emissions in Europe, including industry, transport, and the building sector must all contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy and less energy-consuming society. In order to meet the 80-95% overall GHG reduction objective by 2050, the low-carbon economy roadmap suggests that the EU should cut its emissions to 80% below 1990 levels (European Commission, 2018b). The roadmap indicates that a cost effective and gradual transition requires a 40% domestic reduction of GHG emissions (compared to 1990) as a milestone for 2030, leading then to a 60% reduction by 2040 (European Commission 2018b). In order to achieve these goals, three key targets have been set for the year 2030, which are all built upon the 2020 climate energy package. They aim to cut at least 40% of all European greenhouse gas emissions, to bring the share of renewable energy to a minimum of 27%, and to have an improvement of at least 27% in energy efficiency (European Commission, 2018e). Relying on what has already been accomplished, the EU needs to start working now on appropriate strategies to move in this direction, and all Member States should soon develop national low-carbon roadmaps as well.Overall, the EU must stick to these different measures to deliver a prosperous and sustainable Europe which could then face the challenges of climate change. The EU constantly monitors its development on limiting emissions and reports its achievements (European Commission, 2018b). In addition, it encourages investment in green technologies, a sector in which it has become a world leader and that both sustains economic growth and strengthens Europe’s competitiveness (Council of the EU, 2017a). In this respect, it is desirable that, for example, a significantly higher proportion of the budget was allocated to energy policy, in order to support investment in smart energy infrastructures, energy efficiency, renewable-energy projects as well as the research and deployment of new energy technologies.By setting ambitious goals and targets, the EU shows great initiatives for other nations to follow, establishing at the same time a well-deserved reputation as a global leader on climate policy. Between 1990 and 2012, the EU succeeded in cutting its GHG emissions by 18% and appears to be on track to meet the 2020 target (European Commission 2018b). However, before the 2050 goal of a carbon-free economy is reached, a greater effort in applying existing policies and installing new measures is necessary. In order to achieve its prefixed decarbonisation objective by mid-century, the EU’s current 2030 target represents only a minimal increase in the rate of climate action compared to the prior quarter-century, at a time in which there is need for significant acceleration (European Environment Agency, 2017). At this rate, it seems that the reduction of GHG emissions will not allow the EU to meet its 2050 goal. Even if the Union is moving towards an expansion of ambition to reflect the content of the Paris Agreement, this has yet to bear fruit.


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