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EU proposes new targets for greenhouse gas emissions

Jaap Arriens | NurPhoto | Getty Images

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, has proposed a new set of measures intended to speed up the European Union's (EU) transition to a low carbon, clean economy.

In an announcement on Wednesday, the Commission said its proposals presented "binding annual greenhouse gas emissions targets" for its 28 member states between 2021 and 2030.

They come on the back of the EU's 2014 commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by "at least" 40 percent by 2030, compared to levels in 1990. The Commission said that the new framework was "based on the principles of fairness, solidarity, cost-effectiveness and environmental integrity."

The goals cover sectors outside of the EU's Emissions Trading System: transport, buildings, waste, agriculture, land-use and forestry.

Each country in the EU has been given an individual target to reach by 2030 compared to 2005. Germany has been set a target of a 38 percent reduction, for example, while both France and the U.K.'s target is a 37 percent cut. The U.K. voted to leave the EU last month, which could well impact the targets going forward.

"The EU has an ambitious emissions reduction target, one I am convinced we can achieve through the collective efforts of all Member States," Miguel Arias Cañete, EU commissioner for climate action and energy, said in a statement.

"The national binding targets we are proposing are fair, flexible and realistic," he added. "They set the right incentives to unleash investments in sectors like transport, agriculture, buildings and waste management. With these proposals, we are showing that we have done our homework and that we keep our promises."

The proposals still require the approval of EU governments as well as the European Parliament before the new targets become binding.