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Europe feels pretty strained lately, torn between the cost of living crisis, the fossil fuel prices crisis and increasing climate impacts. And we have seen European capitals at work trying to answer to immediate crises, while sometimes forgetting that the quick responses should pave the way for the longer transformation that Europe needs instead of inefficiently patching an outdated system.

The ink is now drying on the most important climate EU legislation approved in the final days of 2022, while the energy files are going through the last round of negotiations these days. The bitter truth about the EU’s climate objective.

The freshly agreed climate targets will allow the EU only to marginally overshoot its insufficient commitment for 2030 emission reductions, leading to a decrease of net 57% emissions by 2030. This is still a far cry from what can be considered a minimum fair share contribution of the EU of at least -65% emission cuts by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2040 at the very latest, taking into account the EU’s role as a major historic emitter and its capacity to act. Moreover, looking at how negotiations are advancing on the energy files, we do not expect the agreed targets to be ambitious enough either.

This is why this year’s revision of National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) is a key opportunity to set things right and overshoot the insufficient target and accelerate climate action in a fair and inclusive way.

While the EU law sets the minimum required ambition level of NECPs, there is no limitation on member states to design plans that go beyond the EU’s current level of climate and energy ambition and ensure that their actions on the ground are in line with the Paris Agreement objective of keeping global temperature rise to 1.5°.