Next phase of the European Green Deal starts now

12. 12. 2023
AUTHOR: Neil Makaroff

The European Council on 14-15 December 2024 can start reflecting what the outcome of the 28th United Nations (UN) Climate Change conference (COP28) means for the European Union (EU). In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the EU lead efforts to agree on a trajectory that reduces fossil fuel use over the next decade. It can show credibility by setting domestic end dates for coal, oil and gas. The final outcome in Dubai will also inform new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for 2035 that all countries are required to submit to the UN by the first quarter of 2025.

The European Commission plans to publish a new 2040 climate target early next year and this is the right place to start a discussion on accelerating the energy transition.

"COP28 sees unprecedented momentum to end the global addiction to fossil fuels. The EU's leadership is only credible if it walks the talk at home. The geopolitical dependence on Russia's gas cannot be substituted by exposing industry and households to expensive and highly polluting LNG. This week's European Council can highlight the benefits of a fossil-free economy for the EU's competitiveness. It is a good occasion to kickstart the discussion on the next phase of the European Green Deal that provides a clear pathway to 2040." - Linda Kalcher, Executive Director of Strategic Perspectives

"On a continent with limited gas and oil resources, planning the phase-out of fossil fuels is not only good for our climate, it is vital for building a new European energy security and restoring our competitiveness. The time for an economy sponsored by cheap gas is over. Generating jobs and reindustrialising Europe will only be possible if EU leaders take the strategic decision to continue the decarbonisation of our economy beyond 2030. That is why the 2040 climate target will be crucial in shaping the future of Europe." - Neil Makaroff, Director of Strategic Perspectives.

Context: The European Commission is expected to publish a 2040 climate target proposal at the end January

The agreed laws of the European Green Deal can reduce Europe's gas and oil consumption by one-third by 2030. This is insufficient to overcome the geopolitical and geo-economic dependence on fossil fuel imports. The next European mandate provides an opportunity to plan a well-managed phase out of coal, gas and oil in all sectors.

Our recent report, Choices for a more strategic Europe, highlighted that a 90% GHG emission reduction target by 2040 can be turned into a strategic choice for modernising Europe's future industry, enhancing energy security and restoring competitiveness. This can be achieved through stimulating electrification and circularity, scaling up renewable energy deployment and equipping households with affordable climate-friendly technologies.

Encouraging signs in that direction have been seen in Dubai: Denmark voiced support for an EU target of "at least 90%" by 2040, following Commissioner Hoekstra's commitment to include this target in the Commission's proposal. France announced concrete end dates for coal, oil and gas use, paving the way for a similar approach at the European level.

Media contact: Thomas Willems, Communications Officer | Brussels