E.U. Leaders Agree To 40% CO2 Emissions Cut By 2030

The latest E.U. emissions deal calls for a 40 percent greenhouse gas cut, which leaders say sets Europe up to lead in climate negotiations next year.

E.U. Leaders Agree To 40% CO2 Emissions Cut By 2030
Getty Images / Carl Court

E.U. leaders meeting in Brussels struck what's being called a landmark climate deal early Friday morning, agreeing to cut the E.U.'s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030.

The deal was announced by European Council president Herman Van Rompuy on Twitter, who followed up with a statement saying, "It was not easy, not at all, but we managed to reach a fair decision. It sets Europe on an ambitious yet cost-effective climate and energy path."

The deal had seen its fair share of opposition from countries like coal-rich Poland, which claimed the economic costs would be too severe, but the EU reportedly granted some concessions to help push the deal through.

And that's important, according the council, because this agreement helps lay the groundwork for the global climate summit scheduled for late next year in Paris, and will make the E.U. a leader in those negotiations.

So what did they agree to? Using 1990 emissions levels as a benchmark, the deal would cut total E.U. emissions by 40 percent by 2030. It would also set goals of getting 27 percent of energy from renewable sources and a 27 percent increase in energy efficiency. (Video via European Commission)

That's not quite as drastic as it sounds. The E.U. already has a climate agreement to cut emissions by 20 percent by 2020, and it's on track to meet that goal. 

Still, some groups have said the deal isn't ambitious enough. NBC reports, "Environmentalists have complained that the EU's own experts say it must make an at least 80-percent cut by 2050 to limit the rise in global average temperatures to two degrees Celsius."

The deal was publicly supported by major companies like General Electric and Royal Dutch Shell, saying it would make Europe more competitive and reduce energy imports.

This video includes images from Getty Images.