Europe Unlikely to Meet Climate Goal, Study Finds

A coal-fired power station in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Many energy providers there use brown coal, a cheap and dirty fossil fuel. Credit Martin Meissner/Associated Press

BERLIN — The European Union will fail to meet an ambitious goal of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 unless it takes more aggressive measures to limit the use of fossil fuels and adopts new environmental policies, according to a report scheduled for release on Tuesday.

Although European countries are on track to meet, and even surpass, the goal of reducing 1990-level greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, existing policies are not robust enough to ensure that the 2050 targets are met, the report said. Those targets, scientists have said, are critical to forestalling the most catastrophic effects of climate change, which are linked to carbon emissions caused by human activity.

“The level of ambition of environmental policies currently in place to reduce environmental pressures may not enable Europe to achieve long-term environmental goals, such as the 2050 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95 percent,” the report said.

The report also noted that transportation continues to account for a quarter of all carbon emissions within the European Union, and reducing those by 60 percent by 2050 will require “significant additional measures”…