Dec 13, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Europe's big climate deal exempts coal-reliant Poland

illustration of the earth as a rubix cube
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Leaders of the EU endorsed a plan Friday to make the bloc a net-zero carbon emitter by mid-century, according to a slew of reports from their meeting in Brussels.

Yes, but: Coal-reliant Poland, which balked at the target, is currently exempted from the agreement.

  • The official summit statement, according to several stories, notes: "One Member State, at this stage, cannot commit to implement this objective as far as it is concerned, and the European Council will come back to this in June 2020."

The state of play: The deal is a "historic move that sets in motion a radical overhaul of the continent’s economy," Bloomberg reports. They add that it creates "political momentum" for the climate policy proposals that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen laid out this week.

What's next: Per Reuters, "Von der Leyen said the Brussels summit deal, reached in the wee hours of Friday by 27 national EU leaders, was enough for the commission to start rolling out concrete climate legislative proposals for the bloc next year based on the 2050 goal."

Where it stands: Some more on the negotiations via the BBC ...

  • "Several eastern European countries wanted financial and other guarantees before they agreed to the EU cutting to zero its net amount of greenhouse gas emissions."
  • "The Czech Republic and Hungary were brought on board after assurances that nuclear energy could be included in the final mix."

Quick take: Targets are ... just that. The bigger question is whether the continent can successfully develop and implement the array of policies that together will actually bring steep emissions cuts.

Go deeper: Europe's "Green Deal" shows the hard road to U.S. carbon emissions cuts

Go deeper