Press Release

Climate change: EU shows leadership ahead of Paris with 23% emissions cut

Press Release Published 19 Oct 2015 Last modified 06 Dec 2016
3 min read
Photo: © bjdlzx
The European Union is on track towards meeting and overachieving its 2020 target for reducing greenhouse emissions by 20%, according to a report published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA). The "Trends and projections in Europe 2015" report reveals that greenhouse gas emissions in Europe decreased by 23% between 1990 and 2014 and reached the lowest levels on record. Latest projections by Member States show that the EU is heading for a 24% reduction by 2020 with current measures in place, and a 25% reduction with additional measures already being planned in Member States. The EU is already working towards its 2030 goal of an emissions reduction target of at least 40% — the EU's contribution towards the new global climate change agreement in Paris in December.

EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "These results speak for themselves: Europe succeeded in cutting emissions by 23% between 1990 and 2014 while the European economy grew by 46% over the same period. We have shown consistently that climate protection and economic growth go hand in hand.  This is a strong signal ahead of the Paris climate conference that Europe stands by its commitments and that our climate and energy policies work. And we have already taken the first steps towards implementing our Paris pledge with new proposals presented earlier this year."

EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx said: "Europe's efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy have resulted in concrete gains. Our report shows that the EU is on track towards its 2020 climate targets. The report also shows that to achieve our longer-term goals for 2030 and 2050, a fundamental change is needed in the way we produce and use energy in Europe."

On track towards 2020 greenhouse gas target

The EEA report reveals that according to approximated (‘proxy’) estimates for 2014 greenhouse gas, emissions fell by 4% in 2014 compared to 2013. This was partly due to an unusually warm year, which lowered energy demand. This means the EU’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions were 23% below 1990 levels in 2014.

Latest projections by Member States[1] show the EU is heading for a 24% reduction by 2020 with current measures in place, and a 25% reduction with additional measures already being planned in Member States. The EU is therefore also on track towards its Kyoto Protocol target for the second commitment period from 2013 to 2020.

Progress towards 2030 greenhouse gas target

Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are projected to continue beyond 2020 but at a slower pace. According to projections submitted by Member States, planned reductions are estimated to bring emissions between 27% (with current measures) and 30% (with additional measures already being planned by Member States) below 1990 levels by 2030. New policies will therefore need to be put in place to meet the 40% reduction target by 2030. As President Juncker stated in his State of the European Union -speech, European Commission has already taken the first legislative step towards implementing the EU's 2030 targets with its proposal to revise the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).

How is the EU doing with regards to its greenhouse gas emissions targets for 2020 and 2030?

Progress to targets                                     

GHG emissions

Emissions compared to 1990 levels

2020 targets – 20%
2013 levels – 19.8%
2014 levels (approximate) – 23%
Member States’ 2020 projections – 24% to – 25%
Number of  Member States ‘on track’ 24
Member States’ 2030 projections – 27% to – 30%

Link to EEA reports

For media enquiries, please contact:

Anna-Kaisa ItkonenGülçin Karadeniz

European Commission
Spokesperson for Climate Action and Energy    

European Environment Agency
Tel: +32 (0)2 29 56186
Mobile: +32 (0)460 764 328
Tel: +45 33 36 71 72
Mobile: +45 23 68 36 53
Email:   Email:

About the report and the EEA

This EEA annual report provides an updated assessment of the progress of the European Union and European countries towards their climate mitigation and energy targets.

The European Environment Agency (EEA) is an agency of the European Union. It aims to support sustainable development and to help achieve significant and measurable improvement in Europe's environment by providing timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information to policymaking agents and the public. It is supported in its work by the European environment information and observation network (Eionet), a network of 39 European countries.


[1] Projections were made before 2014 estimates were available


Geographic coverage