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EU Sets 2050 Carbon Neutral Target, 10 Years Too Late for CAN-Europe


The European Union has set a 2050 deadline for carbon neutrality, 10 years later than the target adopted in early October by Climate Action Network-Europe in line with a 1.5°C limit on average global warming.

“Going climate neutral is necessary, possible, and in Europe’s interest,” said EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete. “The EU has already started the modernization and transformation towards a climate neutral economy. And today, we are stepping up our efforts as we propose a strategy for Europe to become the world’s first major economy to go climate neutral by 2050.”

The strategy emphasizes the role of the transportation sector, with Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc stating that “all transport modes should contribute to the decarbonization of our mobility system. This requires a system approach with low- and zero-emission vehicles, a strong increase in rail network capacity, and a much more efficient organization of the transport system” incorporating digital networks, incentives for behaviour changes, alternative fuels, and smart infrastructure.

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But CAN-Europe’s long-term target calls [2] for the continent to hit net-zero emissions by 2040, citing 1.5°C “as the only acceptable goal for all policy-making and planning aimed at averting dangerous climate change.” That target “reflects the social and economic opportunities of the zero-carbon transition and the growing evidence of extreme impacts of climate change,” CAN states.