2030 climate target – EU decision goes down to the wire

We are inviting: Journalists
December 8th 2020 at 10 - 11.00 CET
Online via Zoom
Import into your calendar

Just in time for the 5th anniversary of the landmark global Paris Climate Agreement and the UN/UK Climate Ambition Summit, EU leaders plan to find an agreement on a more ambitious 2030 climate target. However, the agenda of their meeting on 10-11 December is full to bursting after Hungary and Poland blocked an agreement on the long-term budget and recovery package, the COVID-19 pandemic requires joint action, and key Brexit issues remain unresolved. This has led commentators and NGOs to worry that a deal on the climate target might not be reached this year. That would make it almost impossible for the EU to push others for more action as the world's key climate leader.

In a web event for journalists on 8 December, those directly involved will provide insights on the status quo and outlook for a more ambitious EU climate target - such as Germany's lead UNFCCC climate negotiator Karsten Sach. This will provide journalists with what they need to know for their reporting in the coming days – and what to look out for once the decision is taken.

Photo: European Union 2020

It could turn out perfectly. At their meeting on 10-11 December, European leaders plan to make a decision on the bloc’s new 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target. Just in time for the 5th anniversary of the day the gavel fell at the UN climate change conference in Paris in 2015 on 12 December. And right on cue for UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the UK government who jointly host a Climate Ambition Summit that day, expecting countries from across the globe to commit to more ambitious climate action.

So it could turn out perfectly – if EU leaders manage to find an agreement.

However, some countries have long signalled that they would have a tough time agreeing to reduce emissions by “at least 55 percent”, which the European Commission proposed in September 2020 and which looks like the most likely outcome of negotiations.

In addition, negotiations have become more complicated after Poland and Hungary blocked a deal on the bloc’s budget for the next seven years and its economic recovery package funded by jointly-backed borrowing. Media reported that the move is likely to dominate the meeting in December, together with Brexit difficulties looming, leaving little room for discussion on the 2030 target.

In March 2020, the European Commission proposed the European Climate Law, which would make the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 legally binding. Another element of the law – until now left blank – will be a more ambitious EU greenhouse gas reduction target for the year 2030. This would be Europe’s contribution to global efforts to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Germany currently holds the EU Council presidency and the government has said it aims to reach an agreement on “at least 55 percent” by the end of 2020.

Ahead of the meeting of EU heads of state and government – the European Council – on 10-11 December and the Environment Council one week later, Clean Energy Wire invites experts to lay out the current state of discussions on raising the EU’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target. They will supply background that journalists need to report on this defining issue of the German EU Council presidency.




10.00 - 10.05            Welcome and introduction
by moderator Julian Wettengel, Clean Energy Wire
10.05 - 10.15 Crunch time for a new 2030 EU climate target
by Manon Dufour, Head of Brussels Office at E3G
10.15 - 10.20


10.20 - 10.30

State of play of EU member state talks on raising the 2030 climate target (off the record)
by Karsten Sach, German environment ministry

10.30 - 10.40


10.40 - 10.45

The view from Poland
with Justyna Piszczatowska

10.45 - 10.55


10.55 - 11.00 Conclusions and outlook


Karsten Sach is the Director-General for Climate Policy, European and International Policy at the German environment ministry (BMU). He has been Germany's chief negotiator at UNFCCC climate conferences since 1999.

Manon Dufour is Head of Brussels Office, E3G, and an expert in European climate policy and politics. Manon works with European policy-makers, civil society and businesses to establish the necessary policies and alliances to reach climate neutrality. She has shaped energy, competition and industry policy to drive decarbonisation. Her current work focuses particularly on the European Green Deal.

Justyna Piszczatowska is a Polish financial journalist specialising in the energy sector and environmental issues. She is currently editor-in-chief of the green-news.pl website and has previously worked for leading Polish newspapers and co-run energy portal WysokieNapiecie.pl.


How can I sign up?

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Will the event be on the record?

Most of the web-event will be on the record. However, Karsten Sach from the German environment ministry will speak off the record. The use of quotes must be requested with Andreas Kübler at the ministry's press office.

Which language will be spoken?

The web-event language is English.

How can I improve the sound quality?

Sound quality is greatly improved by using headsets with a microphone. It is recommended that all

active participants equip themselves accordingly (smartphone headsets are sufficient).

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