Brussels, February 6 – The European Commission today set the ball rolling on the process to agree the European Union’s climate targets for 2040, with a suggestion for a headline target of 90% net reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 relative to 1990 levels.

However, the communication does not suggest plans for the phase-out of two of the key fossil fuels needed to reach this target.

The text indicates a continued role for oil and gas in the EU’s 2040 energy mix. It suggests that coal will be phased out by 2040, although the impact assessment notes that it will be “almost” completely phased out.

Global Witness and other climate organisations are calling for phase-out dates of 2030 for coal, 2035 for gas, and 2040 for oil.

Last week, Global Witness revealed how the fossil fuel industry will spend $223 billion over the next decade on developing and operating new gas extraction sites to supply Europe, with the EU driving the majority of this demand.

Dominic Eagleton, senior fossil fuels campaigner at Global Witness, said “You can set targets to cut greenhouse gases as high as you like, but without a clear plan to phase-out the fossil fuels that are producing them they simply aren’t credible. It’s like building a bike without pedals, how are you going to power it? The European Parliament and Member States need to recognise this and push for a rapid and just transition plan for a full phase-out of fossil fuels, starting with a 2035 end date for gas.”

The European Council and Parliament will next agree their opinions on today’s Communication, after which point the Commission will propose a law for formal negotiation.