European Union Says It Will Be ‘Climate Neutral’ by 2050

The European Union wants to be “climate neutral” by 2050, the bloc said Wednesday, meaning it would become the first major economy to achieve net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions. Emissions after that date would be required by law to be offset by planting trees or by burying them underground with carbon-capture technology. The EU says net-zero emissions by 2050 are needed to have any chance of keeping global temperature rises under 1.5C this century, and that the move will also cut premature air-pollution deaths by 40 percent. Since 1990, the EU has cut its emissions by more than 20 percent and aims to cut it by 40 percent by 2030. Under the new “climate neutral” plan, existing technologies such as solar and wind energy would have to provide 80 percent of electricity. “With this plan, Europe will be the world’s first major economy to go for net-zero emissions by 2050,” said EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete. “We have all the tools to be ambitious.”