Carbon emissions

The European Union member states have agreed on a goal of achieving carbon neutrality in the European Union by 2050.

The agreement was reached after marathon talks ended early Friday, though Poland exempted itself.

Warsaw, which is heavily reliant on coal as an energy source, doubts it can implement the goal and now has until June to decide.

Poland will reach the EU goal of achieving climate neutrality at its “own pace,” Polish ambassadors to the EU tweeted.

“There is no division of Europe into different parts, but there is a member state that still needs a bit more time,” German Chancellor Angel Merkel said.

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Scientists warn that drastic action is needed to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as laid out in the Paris Agreement climate pact.

The new goal is meant to bring the EU in line with the Paris Agreement, though its pathway to get there and crucially where exactly the funds will come from remain to be seen.

Meeting the 2050 neutrality target will entail slashing the EU’s carbon emissions generated by fossil fuels as well as finding ways of capturing or offsetting the remaining emissions.

According to dpa news, it was the second time this year that EU states had debated the goal. Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic blocked the move last time round.

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One bone of contention at Thursday’s talks is whether nuclear power projects would be eligible for EU funds – something which Warsaw, Prague and Budapest claim is necessary but several other member states, including Germany, view skeptically.