EU Climate Chief Is Optimistic About Deal on Tougher Carbon Goal

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The European Union’s climate czar Frans Timmermans said he’s optimistic the bloc’s leaders will reach an agreement on deepening the region’s emissions-reduction target at a summit starting on Thursday.

Bishkek, KyrgyzstanMost polluted air today, in sensor range 0 3 2 1 0 9 ,0 0 9 8 7 6 0 4 3 2 1 0 0 5 4 3 2 1 Soccer pitches of forest lost this hour, most recent data

$69.​9B Renewable power investment worldwide in Q2 2020 -11.​46% Today’s arctic ice area vs. historic average

50,​820 Million metric tons of greenhouse emissions, most recent annual data

EU heads of government will be seeking to overcome differences over a proposal by the European Commission to deepen the EU carbon-cut goal to at least 55% by the end of the next decade from 1990 levels. The biggest sticking point is the cost of the sweeping environmental clean-up, with a group of eastern member states led by Poland seeking more funds for the green transformation.

“We’ve been working very hard with all member states over the last couple of months and the positions are becoming closer to the proposal we’ve made and I think we can reach an agreement tomorrow,” Timmermans told Bloomberg News in an interview. “I think it’s still possible.”

Raising the climate ambition from the existing goal of 40% would need an additional 350 billion euros ($424 billion) per year for investment in energy production and infrastructure. This investment could partially be funded from a recovery package and the EU’s next budget, which is also on the agenda of the EU summit and which Poland and Hungary threaten to veto.

“Of course, it all hinges on the other discussion that’s going on about the multi-annual financial framework and the recovery package, but I’m quite sure that if we can find a conclusion on those two issues that the issue of the emissions target for 2030 will also be within reach of a positive conclusion,” Timmermans said.

A potential delay in adopting the climate target could push prices in the EU carbon market lower and keep businesses from gaining clarity as they prepare for the landmark environmental cleanup. It could also shake trust in Europe’s ability to realize major initiatives, and have knock-on effects on secondary legislation planned in coming months.

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