Last week the European Commission began a public consultation on its options to tighten the EU’s 2030 target to either a 50% or 55% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels, from the current 40%  

The new target, to be proposed in September, will guide the Commission’s revisions of EU policies including EU regulations on the carbon market, renewable energy and energy efficiency as part of its “Green Deal” vision to decarbonise the bloc’s economy by 2050. ‘Creating a more sustainable and resilient economy will be a key focus of the [COVID-19] recovery phase and the Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy will be essential to mobilising such much-needed capital’ – said Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU Commission’s Executive Vice-President.  

To get a sense of what business people think about the possible impacts of coronavirus on Brussels climate ambition we asked attendees of last week’s Coronavirus and the EU ETS webinar:What will the 2030 emissions reduction target be in the Green New Deal? The results are graphed above.  



  • Overall, our respondents were almost equally divided among the options given, so there was no clear winnerNonetheless the idea of a compromise 50% emissions cut garnered the most support at 39%. 
  • Perhaps surprisingly, given the prospect of the largest recession since the Great Depression27% of our webinar participants believed that the EU will still go for the most ambitious 55% emissions cutAfterall, what better signal than the current pandemic can there be, that we should believe science even though it is tempting to believe that the worst won’t happen. 
  • Finally, 34% of our respondents said there will be no change to the existing 40% reduction target. This is a larger-than-expected result given that 26 out of 27 member states voted to increase the EU’s ambition in December. This may be explained by a majority of webinar participants also believing that it will take 6-12 months for European economies to get on top of the Coronavirus pandemic, i.e. the EU may not be able to afford to make a bigger emissions cut (see the results of the first poll from our webinar here).  


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