The European Union has submitted its “intended nationally determined contribution” (INDC) to a new international agreement on climate change.
The EU target is to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% below 1990 in 2030. However, it includes forestry accounting, which could effectively weaken the reductions necessary by all other sectors by a few percentage points.
The original proposal of domestic reductions of 40% is already less ambitious than what the range of studies find to be the EU’s fair contribution to the global effort to limit warming to 2°C.
During 2015, in addition to increasing its overall emissions reductions target, the EU has an opportunity to clarify the magnitude of the impact of its LULUCF accounting. One option could be that the EU specifies that its ‘at least 40% domestic emission reductions by 2030’ would be achieved by all sectors excluding LULUCF, i.e. irrespective of LULUCF accounting rules. In addition, the EU would also need to indicate a target for 2025 given that the question of the length of commitment periods remains unresolved: many countries are calling for five years (2021 to 2025).