The latest “EU Climate Action Progress Report” is now available.
The EU has a plan to get to zero Carbon by 2050. This is the latest update on how that plan is working out right across all 27 member states (yes 27, not 28, the UK is still playing “silly buggers“)
How does the report read?
It is a not all doom and gloom, but is instead encouraging because meaningful progress is being made. On Nov 30, 2020 the commission formally adopted the report, hence it is now available.
Let’s take a brief look.
EU Climate Action Progress Report – Nov 2020
Key highlight: In 2019 this happened …
Greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-27 decreased by 3.7 % year-on-year, while GDP grew by 1.5%
There are two points there.
- You really can grow an economy and at the exact same time decrease emissions, these are not mutually exclusive.
- Compared to the rates of emissions in 1990, emissions have now been reduced by 24%.
The European Union is proving it is possible to reduce emissions and grow your economy. However, today’s report again confirms we need to step up our efforts across all sectors of the economy to reach our common goal of climate neutrality by 2050. The transition is feasible if we stick to our commitment and seize the opportunities of the recovery to reboot our economy in a greener, more resilient way and create a healthy, sustainable future for all.Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal,
Can I have some more specific details please
Of course, here you go, all in one table (visual is often better than lots of words) …
What does a reduction of 3.7% mean, what is being compared with what?
Basically, when you compare the 2019 reduction to 2018 reduction, then you get that 3.7%.
The story here is this. The emission peak was in 1990 (as you can see from the above), and it has been falling since then. The goal is a 20% reduction by 2020. Looking at the pre COVID-19 numbers they are on track.
There is also one other question to ponder over. When they consider emissions, there are specific things that you can exclude to massage the numbers and make them look better than they actually are. Take for example international aviation, did they include or exclude that?
The really good news here is that no games are being played, they included that within their report.
So here is how things map out …
- Compared to 1990, emissions have fallen by 24%, yet within the same time span, the combined EU GDP has grown by about 60% (27 states not 28, the UK is still doing its very best to shrink its economy by jumping off a cliff. They are currently well on track to do exactly that)
The COVID-19 skew
It was never part of the plan, and yet it is inevitable that it will lead to an unprecedented fall in emissions in 2020. It is anticipated that there will be a corresponding bounce after it, so the real story will be the wider before and after trend either side of COVID-19.
What comes next?
This is of course good progress, but it is also a long way from a done deal. Much much more is needed.
The goal for 2030 is an emissions reduction (compared to 1990) of 55%. Current plans get them to just over a 41% reduction by 2030 so revised far more ambitious plans will be needed.
They need to be smart about next steps. When it comes to the COVID-19 recovery funding, they need to ensure it is not about business as usual but that it also advances climate mitigation.
In summary, yes a big pat on the back for doing well, but a lot more effort will be needed to stay on track.