Emissions reduction target worryingly weak in historic climate deal

Press Release

Brussels, 12 December 2015

The European Environmental Bureau welcomed the global climate deal that was signed in Paris today. It praised the hard work of participants at the COP, but warned that despite the sleeplessness and arduous negotiations to get the deal done, key elements were missing in the historic treaty, and called on the EU to step up its ambition.

Mikael Karlsson, President of European Environmental Bureau (EEB), commented at the end of the talks:

This global deal is a historic breakthrough. World leaders are now recognising what civil society and science have been saying for long, namely that the present targets and measures are far from sufficient. But while the treaty sets an ambitious target to hold warming well below 2 degrees C and to pursue efforts towards 1.5 degrees C, the emissions reduction target is strikingly weak and vague. Fortunately, a review mechanism is put in place, and we urge the EU to step up climate efforts not only in the union, but also globally, pushing for a stronger treaty in the near future.

In Europe, this means building an Energy Union that will allow the EU to end its dependency on fossil fuels, massively increase its energy efficiency and speed up the transition to renewable energy. This also means that the EU needs to update its emission reduction targets in line with the new temperature target, and to reform its cap and trade system and implement environmental fiscal reform. More specifically:

The European Commission needs to submit the necessary legislative proposals getting the EU on track to have at least 40% energy efficiency. 

EU member states must fully implement existing energy-efficiency legislation, with strict enforcement by the Commission.

Europe must take the necessary investment decisions to ensure the EU’s 2020 targets are met, and that the long-term goal of keeping global warming down to 1.5 degrees C is reached.

The EU needs to move forward with a structural reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) to make it fully effective with 100% auctioning of permits, the cancelling of surplus allowances and a significant share of revenue channeled to investments in renewables.

The European Commission needs to once again start working to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and promote environmental tax reforms in Member States.


For more information contact:

Mikael Karlssson, EEB President: + 46 70 316 27 22

Roland Joebstl, EEB Policy Officer, Climate and Energy: +32 479 55 16 88 

Philippa Nuttall Jones, EEB Senior Communications Officer:, +32 4 71 57 01 81