Overall rating

Policies and action
against modelled domestic pathways

< 3°C World

NDC target
against modelled domestic pathways

< 3°C World

NDC target
against fair share

< 3°C World
Climate finance
Net zero target



Comprehensiveness rated as

Land use & forestry
Not significant

Historical emissions

Historical emissions between 1990 and 2021 are based on the national inventory submitted by the EU to the UNFCCC (European Environment Agency, 2023a). This data is presented in AR5 GWP values, so we convert it to AR4 GWP using gas-by-gas conversions. We extend the data to 2022 using the growth rates from the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) approximated estimates for greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) for 2022 (European Environment Agency, 2023b).

NDC target

Since our last update, the CAT has changed its methodology for quantifying the EU’s absolute emissions target, so that it aligns with the EEA’s quantification of the target (European Environment Agency, 2023g).

  • We take the EU’s 1990 emissions including LULUCF in AR5 GWP, but excluding indirect CO2 emissions and emissions from international aviation, and apply a 55% reduction to this value (European Environment Agency, 2023a).
  • Then we add the difference between the sink (209 MtCO2e) in 1990 and the sink of 225 MtCO2e that the EU is allowed to use towards achieving its NDC target as outlined in the European Climate Law.
  • This results in a value of 2109 MtCO2e which corresponds to the EEA’s quantification.
  • As the CAT excludes LULUCF from absolute target values, we then remove sink of 225 MtCO2e and convert the value from AR5 to AR4 using a conversion factor based on emissions in 1990.

While the LULUCF Regulation, passed in April 2023, adopts a EU-wide LULUCF sink of 310 MtCO2e, the EU has made clear that this additional sink capacity will help it exceed its 55% target and not contribute to it (European Parliament, 2022; European Parliament & Council of the European Union, 2023e). As such, we do not exclude this additional LULUCF capacity from our quantification of the target.

CO2 emissions from intra-EU flights (as well as those departing flights to Switzerland and the United Kingdom) fall within the scope of the NDC as they are covered under the EU ETS. However, we do not consider these emissions to be part of the target quantification itself (as described above), but relevant to assessing compliance with it. As such, intra-EU CO2 aviation are not included in our NDC target calculations.

Current policy projections

The assessment of the EU’s policy projections reflects both policies and measures implemented at the national level (the top end of our range), as well as these adopted at the EU level but not yet transposed by the member states (the bottom end of our range).

To reflect policies adopted at the national level, we use the EEA’s compilation of national projections prepared by member states in 2023 (European Environment Agency, 2023e). We apply the growth rate from the ‘with existing measures’ (WEM) scenario for total GHG emissions (excl. LULUCF and excl. int. aviation) to total GHG emissions (excl. LULUCF and excl. int. aviation) in 2022.

To calculate the bottom end of the range, we replace estimates for power CO2 emissions in the States Policies (STEPS) projections from the World Energy Outlook (WEO) with those from the Announced Pledges (APS) to account for the implementation of the 42.5% RE share in final gross consumption in the Fit for 55 package.

We then take the growth rate of this revised projection for total CO2 emissions from WEO and apply that to total GHG emission from the Energy sector in 2022 and extend out to 2035. (Non-CO2 emissions represent about 3% of energy sector emissions, so we think WEO is a good proxy for the entire sector). For all other sectors, we use sector-specific growth rates from EEA’s 2023 WEM scenario to extend each sector out to 2035 individually.

We have improved our method for quantifying the lower bound of our CPP to reflect more recent data. (Our previous method was based on modelling prepared by the Commission in 2021). Our policy projection does not include emissions from intra-EU aviation, which the EU will consider as part of complying with its NDC.

Note: Our data download includes projections until 2035; however, our graphics display the data until 2030 only.

Planned policy projections

To develop a planned policies projection for the EU, we modified our energy sector estimate to take into account the 45% indicative RE target (up from the 42.5% included in our current policy lower bound). For the other sectors, we use sector-specific growth rates from EEA’s 2023 ‘with additional measures’ (WAM) scenario to extend each sector out to 2030 individually.

To devise the modified energy sector estimate, we took the Energy emissions projections from the lower range of our current policy projection and multiplied it by the ratio between projected total Energy emissions in 2030 with a 42.5% RE goal comparted to a 45% RE indicative target. We interpolated the data between total Energy emissions in 2022 to this adjusted value for 2030 to complete the time-series.

To calculate the ratio indicated above, we started with the 2030 emissions estimates provided by the European Commission in its initial modelling of the higher emissions reduction goal published in 2021 (European Commission, 2021e). This modelling assumed a final energy consumption of 773 Mtoe and a renewable energy share of 40%.

We calculated the emissions intensity for energy CO2 emissions and then adjusted this figure to reflect the higher renewable energy share adopted by the EU (42.5%). We used this revised emissions intensity value and the updated final energy consumption target of 763 Mtoe to calculate energy CO2 emissions.

We used the 2021 ratio between energy CO2 and all gases to estimate total emissions in 2030. For the other value in the ratio, we applied the same methods as indicated earlier but used the indicative additional target included in the Renewable Energy Directive of 2.5% (or 45% share total).

Proposed 2040 target

We take the EU’s 1990 emissions including LULUCF in AR5 GWP, but excluding indirect CO2 emissions and emissions from international aviation, and apply a 90% reduction to this value. Then we exclude the estimated LULUCF sink (-317 MtCO2e) in 2040. Finally, we convert the value from AR5 to AR4 using a conversion factor based on emissions in 1990.

Net-zero target

In December 2018, the European Commission published its assessment of the climate neutrality goal by 2050 for the EU28 (European Commission, 2018a, 2018c, 2018b). Out of the eight scenarios, three were considered compatible with the goal of climate neutrality by 2050. We have selected 1.5TECH and 1.5LIFE-LB to cover the whole range of scenarios for climate neutrality. These projections are in AR4 GWP and include the United Kingdom as it had yet to exit the EU at the time the modelling was prepared.

We take emissions estimates in 2050 including LULUCF and international aviation provided by these two scenarios and exclude the projected LULUCF sink and international aviation emissions in 2050 for the sake of comparability across other CAT countries. We compare these values in 2050 to historical emissions (excl. LULUCF) of the EU28 in 1990 to determine the % emissions reduction in comparison to 1990. To determine the historical emissions of the EU28 in 1990, we add the EU27's total emissions (excl. LULUCF) in 1990 from the latest national inventory to the United Kingdoms’ emissions total in 1990 (BEIS & DESNZ, 2023; European Environment Agency, 2023a). We have converted both of these historical emissions into AR4 using gas-by-gas conversion for all gases. Finally, we apply the % emissions reduction compared to 1990 for both scenarios to the EU27's total emissions (excl. LULUCF) in 1990.

Global Warming Potentials

The CAT uses Global Warming Potential (GWP) values from the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) for all its figures and time series. Assessments completed prior to December 2018 (COP24) used GWP values from the Second Assessment Report (SAR).

Some of the EU data used in our calculations is based on AR5 values. Please see the individual sections above for our conversion methods.

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