EU with tougher emission reduction targets for member states

In this April 29, 2021 file photo, a coal-fired RWE power plant steams on a sunny day in Neurath, Germany. (MARTIN MEISSNER / AP)

BRUSSELS The Council of the European Union (EU) and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on Tuesday evening to tighten EU countries' greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets.

Under the deal, EU-level emission cuts for sectors not covered by the bloc's Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), such as transport, agriculture, buildings, small industries and waste, must reduce their emissions by 40 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

Each member state will have an updated national target with changes ranging from -10 percent to -50 percent compared to 2005 emission levels

"These sectors, directly linked to our everyday lives, generate about 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions," Marian Jurecka, Czech minister of environment, said in a statement.

The regulation still needs formal adoption to become binding.

"The new rules for national emission cuts ensure that all member states contribute and that existing loopholes (in the Effort Sharing Regulation covering non-ETS sectors) are closed," said Jessica Polfjard, who has been steering the draft regulation through the European Parliament.

READ MORE: EU reaches deal on national CO2 emission cut targets

Under the regulation, each member state will have an updated national target, with changes ranging from -10 percent to -50 percent compared to 2005 emission levels.

According to the European Commission, measures to achieve the new targets might include promoting public transport; retrofitting buildings; installing more efficient heating and cooling systems; and introducing more climate-friendly agricultural practices.

EU member states will have linear emission trajectories that they must respect to ensure that each year, they do not exceed the allowed national GHG emission levels. These trajectories will be updated again in 2025 if necessary.

The provisional agreement allows member states to bank and borrow national emission allocations. Buying and selling emission allocations between member states will also be permitted, up to 10 percent of their annual allocations until 2025, and 15 percent between 2026 and 2030.

The agreement came as world leaders gathered in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, for the United Nations Climate Conference (COP27).

"(The) agreement brings clarity about Member States' national efforts, ensures solidarity, and shows (the participants of) COP27 (that) the EU is on track to deliver our climate commitments," tweeted Frans Timmermans, European Commission Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal.