BRUSSELS — European Union leaders agreed Thursday they need to raise their climate ambition above the existing target but stopped short of endorsing a proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels.
Leaders discussed the proposal from the bloc’s executive arm on the first day of an EU summit in Brussels, and came to the conclusion that the updated goal should be achieved “collectively” to take into account the different energy mixes of member states.
According to the meeting’s conclusions, leaders will try to find a consensus during another meeting to be held in December, ahead of the adoption of the first-ever European climate law.
“All Member States will participate in this effort, taking into account national circumstances and considerations of fairness and solidarity,” the conclusions read.
The text was sufficiently vague to find a consensus and could open the door to tailor-made arrangements capable of clinching the approval of all 27 member states.
While the European Parliament pushes for an even greater 60% reduction in emissions, eastern EU countries that depend on coal for much of their energy needs are less enthusiastic. They worry about the social, environmental and economic costs of the transition to a greener economy. Poland last year did not commit to the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality goal and has asked for more details about the measures.