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Report casts doubt on member states’ climate plans as 2040 target looms

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A new assessment calls into question the ability of EU countries to achieve climate goals.

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Five EU countries’ national climate and energy plans lack detail and are inconsistent, jeopardizing their chances of meeting emissions targets, according to a climate NGO report published today (31 January). 2030 and raising the stakes for governments towards an imminent 2040 climate target.

According to the report by the European Network for Climate Neutrality, the draft national plans of Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden all reveal “major planning problems” in sectors crucial to the energy transition such as hydrogen, of the territory, bioenergy and carbon storage. (ECNO).

While Sweden’s national strategy implies that the country is on track to achieve net negative emissions by 2030, ECNO experts “do not find this credible” arguing that the country is relying on old data and low quality”. As for Hungary, current plans indicate a possible increase in greenhouse gas emissions and its plan proposals “ambiguously” refer to “low-carbon” hydrogen rather than green hydrogen, the report said. .

In the Netherlands, renewable hydrogen production is expected to meet around 30-40% of the country’s electricity demand by 2030, the report says, underlining that the country would use its renewable resources “with much lower efficiency”, instead of using them “directly as electricity”.

According to the report, Italy’s draft plans show “a strong reliance on carbon capture storage (CCS) in the industrial sector” and lack any reference to alternative decarbonisation measures, while Spain did not reveal details on the long-term carbon sinking, risking inconsistencies and dependence on fossil fuels.

“Embarking on a climate-neutral path in this critical decade of action requires much more coherent and integrated cross-sectoral planning for the short term,” said Julien Pestiaux, lead author of the report and partner at Climact, a consultancy and one of the partners of the ECNO consortium.

Pestiaux warned EU countries to avoid excessive dependence on bioenergy to prevent “land grabbing and deforestation around the world”, to carefully consider their demand for green hydrogen and to make a clear distinction between use of carbon capture and carbon capture storage.

ECNO called on countries to “urgently up their games” when outlining national plans, a call echoed by the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change (ESABCC), which said “more efforts are needed across all sectors” to achieve the EU’s climate goals. from 2030 to 2050.

The Commission will announce the new interim climate target for 2040 next week (6 February).

A leaked draft communication circulated in Brussels last week suggests that the Commission intends to support a 90% reduction in net emissions compared to 1990, the lower limit of a five-point range recommended by the EU’s independent scientific advisory committee.

Member states have until June to submit their energy and climate plans. The five countries did not immediately respond to the ECNO report.

Pestiaux welcomed the EU executive’s forthcoming proposal for the 2040 climate target, but argued that “the robustness of [national] the plans will ultimately determine the success of realizing the ambition.”

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