European Commission scraps plans to cut farming emissions and stop subsidising fossil fuels

Brussels – Leaked drafts of the European Commission’s proposed 2040 EU climate target to be announced later today does not include dates to phase out coal, oil and gas, a gaping omission according to Greenpeace. Burning fossil fuels for energy accounts for around 75% of all human-made greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. 

The Commission has also backpedalled on plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions from farming.

The European Commission is proposing a target of 90% net carbon emissions reductions by 2040, based on 1990 levels. The ‘net’ target counts actual emission reductions together with attempted capture of emissions at the point of pollution and efforts to draw down carbon from the atmosphere.

Greenpeace EU climate campaigner Silvia Pastorelli said: “This is about as meaningful as a target to prevent lung cancer without any plan to end smoking. It is blatantly clear that fossil fuels must be brought to a swift end if we want to avoid the worst effects of climate breakdown. The absence of a phase-out plan for fossil fuels, and even for subsidies, not only delays the climate action we urgently need, but will end up hurting people more.”

Greenpeace is warning that the European Commission’s plans still foresee a role for oil and gas in the coming decades, when the EU should be reaching climate neutrality by 2040 to be in line with the Paris climate agreement. The Commission also encourages a significant role for nuclear energy, which risks diverting funds away from projects that could bring renewable electricity online or cut energy waste quickly and cheaply, while nuclear plants run billions over budget and with many years of delays.

Older drafts of the Commission’s announcement, and recent recommendations from the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change, included the need to cut emissions from the agriculture sector and end subsidies for fossil fuels; both are absent in the latest leaked announcement. 

Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said: “Farmers are on the front lines of the climate crisis in Europe, dealing with droughts, fires, floods and landslides. But politicians ignoring scientific advice on helping farmers move away from overproduction of meat and dairy makes climate change worse and leaves European farming more exposed to extreme weather. Farmers are nature’s best allies, when the rules, markets and subsidies don’t force them into a desperate choice between industrial production or bankruptcy.”


Silvia Pastorelli, Greenpeace EU climate and energy campaigner: +32 (0)496 122094, [email protected]

Marco Contiero, Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director: +32 (0)477 777034, [email protected]  

Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911, [email protected]

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