SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov 15 (Reuters) – The European Union is expected to announce plans at the COP27 summit on Tuesday to update its emissions-cutting target under the Paris climate change accord before next year’s U.N. summit, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The move by the world’s third biggest polluter – after China and the United States – would attempt to convince other countries that the 27-country EU is sticking by its commitments to fight climate change, even as it battles an energy crisis.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered a dash for gas in Europe and prompted some countries to burn more coal, as they scramble to replace energy supplies from Russia that have been disrupted this year.
EU policymakers say the moves are temporary, and point to plans to expand renewable energy which the European Commission proposed making more ambitious this year to help countries quit Russian gas faster.
But the optics of European countries burning more coal – while at the same time urging poorer countries to wean themselves off the fuel – has complicated the EU’s climate record and led some countries at the COP27 summit to complain of backsliding on green goals.
“There’s been this very strange narrative going around, that because of the challenges coming to Europe because of Putin’s war against Ukraine, we would be stepping back from our ambitions,” EU climate chief Frans Timmermans told COP27 on Monday.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.
The EU has among the most ambitious climate change policies of major emitters, having committed to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels, and completely eliminate them by 2050.
The bloc is now negotiating a raft of laws to deliver those goals. Ahead of the COP27, EU countries and lawmakers rushed through deals on three of the laws, including a 2035 ban on selling new fossil fuel cars in the bloc.
Those laws, if implemented, mean EU countries would overachieve the 55% emissions cut. One of the laws, on protecting forests and other CO2-absorbing ecosystems, could cut countries’ overall net emissions by 57%, according to EU lawmakers.
Reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by Lincoln Feast
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