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European Commission Representation in Cyprus
News article30 November 2023Representation in Cyprus6 min read

EU calls for accelerated emissions reductions and clean energy transition at COP28

At the COP28 UN Climate Change Conference starting on 1 December in Dubai, the European Union will call on all Parties to take urgent action to bring down greenhouse gas emissions this decade.

At the COP28 UN Climate Change Conference starting on 1 December in Dubai, the European Union will call on all Parties to take urgent action to bring down greenhouse gas emissions this decade and respect the commitments they made under the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to below 2°C, and to aim for 1.5°C.

President von der Leyen will attend the World Climate Action Summit that officially opens COP28 on 1-2 December. On 1 December in the EU Pavilion, she will host a high-level event on promoting Paris-aligned carbon markets, with the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organisation, as well as a launch event for EU-Catalyst breakthrough energy projects, and an event on the Just Energy Transition Partnership with Vietnam. On 2 December, President von der Leyen will launch the Global Pledge on Renewables and Energy Efficiency together with the COP28 Presidency, aiming to triple installed renewables capacity and double energy efficiency measures by 2030. She will also speak at the Super-Pollutants Summit, attend the Coal Transition Accelerator (CTA) initiative event, participate in the Global Stocktake roundtable on Means of Implementation, and deliver the official EU Statement in Plenary, with President of the European Council Charles Michel.

From 6 December onwards, Commissioner for Climate Action Wopke Hoekstra will lead the EU negotiating team in the formal decision-making process of COP28. COP28 will mark the culmination of the first Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement, a moment for all Parties to examine the progress made and the necessary actions to correct our course towards a safer climate and uphold the goals of the Paris Agreement. The EU will be encouraging all partners to agree to global energy goals that seek to accelerate the phaseout of unabated fossil fuels, as part of increasing global ambition on climate change mitigation. The EU's negotiating goals include:

  • tripling global renewable energy capacity and doubling energy efficiency improvement rates by 2030;
  • reaching  agreement on phasing out unabated fossil fuels;
  • making sure that fossil fuel consumption peaks ahead of 2030;
  • phasing out fossil fuel subsidies that do not address energy poverty or the just transition.

The Global Stocktake must also set the clear expectation that Parties will immediately begin work on post-2030 targets (NDCs) and that these represent economy-wide reductions in all greenhouse gases consistent with avoiding a 1.5°C temperature rise and a net-zero global economy by mid-century. In addition, the European Union's negotiating team will push for the speedy implementation of existing commitments to move from ambitious words to concrete actions, including through the advancement of the Mitigation Work Programme to urgently scale up mitigation ambition and implementation in this critical decade.

On adaptation to climate change, the EU is committed to achieve clear progress towards the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA). Nature-based solutions play a crucial role in enabling adaptation to climate change and preserving biodiversity in line with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework signed last year.

On the issue of loss and damage, the EU will continue to seek effective solutions to meet the diverse needs of vulnerable countries already facing the effects of climate change. The EU will seek to build on the momentum from the recent agreement on a loss and damage fund. The EU is committed to making the fund operational, with a broad donor base, and will be ready to take the lead in contributing to it, in the context of ambitious outcomes at COP28, including on mitigation.

We will work with developed countries to ensure they increase climate finance contributions to continue to meet the annual $100 billion target. In 2022, the EU contributed a record €28.5 billion in public climate finance (around $30 billion). Globally, preliminary data from the OECD suggests the $100bn goal has been met in 2022, but developed countries will need to continue to increase their contributions to ensure global climate neutrality can be reached early in the second half of this century.

The Commission will host almost 100 Side Events at the EU Pavilion in Dubai. These events will address a broad range of climate-related issues, such as biodiversity protection and nature restoration, energy security and the green transition, clean transport, carbon markets, sustainable finance, food and water security, and research and innovation. Several members of the College of Commissioners will take part in these and other events at COP28, including Executive Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič (1-6 December), Vice-President Dubravka Šuica (8 December), Commissioner Johannes Hahn (2-3 December), Commissioner Janez Lenarčič (3 December), Commissioner Kadri Simson (3-5 December), Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius (9 December). Their full agendas will be found online here.


Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, 194 countries agreed to submit Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which represent their individual emissions reduction targets. Collectively, these NDCs should contribute to keeping average global temperature change below 2°C and as close as possible to 1.5°C by the end of the century. The 2022 reports from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that the world is set to reach the 1.5ºC level within the next two decades and that only the most drastic cuts in carbon emissions from now would help prevent an environmental disaster. This level of temperature rise would have extremely harmful effects that pose an existential challenge.

The European Union is a global leader in climate action, having already cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 32.5% since 1990, while growing its economy by over 60%. With the European Green Deal presented in December 2019, the EU further raised its climate ambition by committing to reaching climate neutrality by 2050. This objective became legally binding with the adoption and entry into force of the European Climate Law, in July 2021. The Climate Law also sets an intermediate target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This 2030 target was communicated to the UNFCCC in December 2020 as the EU's NDC under the Paris Agreement.

In 2021, the EU presented a package of proposals to make its climate, energy, land use, transport and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. With most of these proposals now fully adopted, the EU and its Member States have turned their focus to implementing these policies in order to advance the green transition. The European Union submitted an update of its NDC on the 16 October to show that it is on a path to overachieve its 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from 1990 levels. According to the Commission's estimates, the full implementation of the ‘Fit for 55' legislation will lead to a 57% reduction. The next round of nationally determined contributions should be submitted by 2025, for post-2030 emissions reductions.

Climate finance is critical to support vulnerable communities to protect themselves against the impacts of climate change and to support sustainable economic growth. Developed countries have committed to mobilise a total of $100 billion of international climate finance per year from 2020 until 2025 to help the most vulnerable countries and small island states in particular, in their mitigation and adaptation efforts. The EU is the biggest donor with a steadily rising contribution to around a third of the target. Other donor countries must step up their efforts and meet the remaining shortfall.

For More Information
EU negotiating mandate to COP28
EU at COP28 Side Events Programme
Just Energy Transition Partnership with Vietnam


Publication date
30 November 2023 (Last updated on: 30 November 2023)
Representation in Cyprus