An Ambitious EU Climate Target for 2040: Slashing Emissions while Strengthening Energy Security

An Ambitious EU Climate Target for 2040
A fossil fuel phase-out by 2040 would increase peace and democracy while ensuring achieve-ment of the Paris targets

On 6 February, the European Commission will propose climate targets for 2040. The current Commission can thereby frame the climate policy of the upcoming years ahead of the EU elections in June. The 2040 targets will be a guiding light for the new Commission and shape the EU's worldwide perception. Germanwatch is therefore calling for ambitious 2035 and 2040 targets. 





Our demands for a 2040 climate target for the EU:

  • Steeper emission reductions: Germanwatch is calling for the EU to set a climate target that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by preferably 95 per cent and at least 90 per cent by 2040 (compared to 1990 levels, including sinks). By 2035, the EU should reduce its net emissions by at least 76 per cent and preferably 78 per cent. For each of these targets, a maximum of 3 percentage points should be set as the currently expected contribution from ecosystems and technical sinks.
  • Exit coal, oil and gas: Germanwatch is calling for an EU target to phase-out of fossil fuels by 2040 at the latest. This phase-out must be implemented in a socially responsible manner. 
  • Expand climate partnerships: To complement domestic emission reductions, the EU and Germany must facilitate additional climate mitigation efforts in other parts of the world through climate partnerships and multilateral financing. 
  • Thinking beyond 2040: The EU should set the course now to ensure that more CO2 is permanently removed from the atmosphere than is emitted in the member states after 2050.
  • Stronger focus on social issues: The EU should make support for low-income households and regions a core task of the next legislature.
  • Build on existing legislation: The current mix of instruments should be extended but further complemented beyond 2030.

Charly Heberer, Oldag Caspar
Publication date
Heberer, C., Caspar, O., 2024, An Ambitious EU Climate Target for 2040. Slashing Emissions while Strengthening Energy Security.
Document type
Policy Brief

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Real name

Senior Advisor – EU Climate Policy

Real name

Head of Division – German and European Climate Policy