“Heads of government from the bloc’s 28 nations endorsed a binding target to cut greenhouse gases by at least 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 at a summit in Brussels. Meeting that goal would cost about 38 billion euros ($48 billion) a year, according to EU estimates. The EU is on track to meet its previous goal of a 20 percent reduction by 2020.
‘That sends a strong signal to the international community and I hope that the signal is being received today in Washington, in Beijing and other big economies so that they will prepare their ambitions accordingly,” EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said in an interview. “Now investors, businesses, everyone will know that this is where we are headed — these are the targets’” (renewableenergyworld.com).
The compromise required unanimity in order to pass. Under threat of veto from Poland unless there were a provision that were to address the potential surge of power prices inside the country, the EU came to an agreement that Poland’s producers would receive free carbon permits to be used under the ETS.
The unanimous agreement of the member states, some say it was the wrong time for Europe to make this move, however the Union is more concerned with creating a global movement as the US and China are the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world. They hope to initiate a stronger incentive in the two aforementioned countries after proving it can be done: the EU is currently well on track to meet its goals of cutting emissions by 20% by 2020 from the levels in 1990.