Working together on topics that matter
In the starting phase, the Pact will prioritise actions focused on four areas that offer immediate benefits not only for the climate and the environment, but also for the health and wellbeing of citizens: green areas, green mobility, green buildings and green jobs.
The Pact has an open mandate and its scope will evolve based on the needs and contributions of the people and organisations that become part of it.
EU action on climate and sustainability
The EU is taking action on many fronts, through laws, policies and programmes. Explore some examples below.
The EU aims to be climate-neutral by 2050 – an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
This objective is at the heart of the European Green Deal and in line with the EU’s commitment to global climate action under the Paris Agreement. We have even proposed a European Climate Law to turn this political commitment into a legal obligation.
To help us reach this ambitious goal, we are also proposing to increase our climate and energy targets for 2030. Under our 2030 Climate Target Plan, we would reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels.
Key EU climate legislation and policies:
- EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, industry and flights within the EU
- National targets for sectors outside emissions trading, such as transport, buildings and agriculture
- Ensuring our forests and land contribute to the fight against climate change
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport, e.g. through CO2 emission standards for vehicles
- Boosting energy efficiency, renewable energy and governance of EU countries’ energy and climate policies
- Promoting innovative low-carbon technologies
- Phasing down climate-warming fluorinated greenhouse gases
- Protecting the ozone layer
- Adapting to the impacts of climate change
- Funding climate action
We actively work with other countries and regions to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, and are a top provider of international climate finance to support developing countries in their efforts to tackle climate change.
It is time to fix our broken relationship with nature. Climate change, loss of biodiversity, and the spread of devastating pandemics demand it.
The EU’s Biodiversity Strategy will put Europe on the path to ecological recovery by 2030:
- Unlock €20 billion per year for biodiversity through various sources, including EU funds and national and private funding
- Establish protected areas for at least 30% of land and 30% of sea in Europe
- Restore degraded ecosystems across the whole of Europe
- Plant 3 billion trees by 2030
- Reduce the use and harmfulness of pesticides by 50% by 2030
- Make the EU a world leader in addressing the biodiversity crisis
- EU action for environment
- Natura 2000
- LIFE programme
- EU Green Week
- Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity
- EU Pollinator Information Hive
Sustainable food systems
The EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy will ensure Europeans have access to healthy, affordable and sustainable food:
- Protect the environment and preserve biodiversity
- Reduce chemical and hazardous pesticide use by 50% by 2030
- Tackle climate change
- Ensure a fair economic return in the supply chain
- Increase organic farming to 25% of total farmland by 2030
- EU action on food, farming, fisheries
- EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste
- Organic farming
- European Network for Rural Development
- BlueInvest Platform
- Horizon Europe Mission on Soil Health and Food
Decarbonising the EU’s energy system is vital if we are to reach our climate objectives.
Our key principles are:
- Prioritise energy efficiency and develop a power sector based largely on renewable sources
- Ensure a secure and affordable EU energy supply
- Achieve a fully integrated, interconnected and digitalised EU energy market
The EU strategies for energy system integration and hydrogen will pave the way towards a more efficient and interconnected energy sector, driven by the twin goals of a cleaner planet and a stronger economy.
This is essential for Europe’s goal of climate neutrality by 2050, as the energy system accounts for 75% of our greenhouse gas emissions.
- EU action on energy
- European Energy Efficiency Platform (E3P)
- Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy
- Energy Poverty Observatory
- Clean Energy for EU Islands
- Sustainable Energy Investment Forums
- Citizens’ Energy Forums
- Energy Communities
Achieving our climate and environmental goals requires an industrial policy based on a circular economy.
Europe’s Industrial Strategy will support the green transformation by:
- Stimulating the development of new markets for climate-neutral and circular products
- Modernising and exploiting domestic and global opportunities to ensure our progress and future prosperity
- Decarbonising energy-intensive industries e.g. steel and cement
- Encouraging sustainable consumption and production
The Circular Economy Action Plan will present a ‘sustainable products’ policy to prioritise reducing and reusing materials before recycling them. Minimum requirements will be set to prevent environmentally-harmful products from being placed on the EU market. False green claims will be tackled.
The EU Ecolabel, the official European Union label for environmental excellence, is aligned with this plan. The EU Ecolabel is awarded to sustainably designed products, encouraging innovation and contributing to a clean and circular economy with a zero-pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment. In doing so, it is helping Europe to meet its goal to be the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Through the EU Ecolabel, industry can offer true and reliable eco-friendly alternatives to conventional products, empowering consumers to make informed choices and play an active role in the ecological transition.
Efforts will focus on resource-intense sectors, such as textiles, construction, electronics and plastics.
- Energy label and ecodesign
- Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform
- Circular Plastics Alliance
- Initiative on substantiating green claims
- European Business Awards for the Environment
- EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)
- European Resource Efficiency Knowledge Centre
Building and renovating
Buildings account for around 40% of the energy consumed in Europe, but only 1% of buildings undergo energy efficient renovation every year. Moreover, the construction, use and renovation of buildings require massive amounts of energy and resources, including sand, gravel and cement.
The Renovation Wave will double annual energy renovation rates in the next ten years:
- enhance the quality of life for people living in and using the buildings
- reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions
- create up to 160,000 additional green jobs in the construction sector
With nearly 34 million Europeans unable to afford keeping their home adequately heated, renovation is also an important response to energy poverty. It can address the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people while reducing their energy bills.
- Energy efficient buildings
- EU Building Stock Observatory
- New European Bauhaus
- Smart Finance for Smart Buildings
Transport accounts for a quarter of the Union’s greenhouse gas emissions and this figure continues to grow.
The European Green Deal seeks a 90% reduction in these emissions by 2050:
- Extend emissions trading to the maritime sector
- Reduce free allowances to airlines under emissions trading rules
- Install 1 million public recharging and refuelling stations by 2025 for the 13 million zero- and low-emission vehicles expected on European roads by that time
- Increase use of rail or water for freight transport
- Designate 2021 as the European Year of Rail to support rail as a sustainable, innovative and safe means of transport
- Cut up to 10% of air transport emissions via the Single European Sky at zero cost to consumers and companies
- EU action on clean transport and urban transport
- European Mobility Week
- Green Driving Tool
- Clean Bus Europe Platform
- Urban Access Regulations
- Transport Research & Innovation Monitoring System
Pollution harms our health and our environment. It is the largest environmental cause of multiple mental and physical diseases and of premature deaths, especially among children, people with certain medical conditions and the elderly.
In addition to affecting people’s health, pollution is one of the main reasons for the loss of biodiversity. It reduces the ability of ecosystems to provide services such as carbon sequestration and decontamination.
- The Zero Pollution Action Plan will better prevent and remedy pollution from air, water, soil, and consumer products, and mainstream zero pollution ambition into all policy areas
- The Methane Strategy aims to curb temperature pathways to 2050, improve air quality and reinforce the EU’s global leadership in the fight against climate change.
- The Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability will build on Europe’s sophisticated chemical laws to better protect citizens and the environment and boost innovation for safe, sustainable chemicals.
Sustainable finance and investment
We aim to support the delivery of our European Green Deal objectives by channelling private investment into the transition to a climate-neutral, climate-resilient, resource-efficient and just economy, as a complement to public money.
The financial sector can help:
- re-orient investments towards more sustainable technologies and businesses
- finance growth in a sustainable manner over the long-term
- contribute to the creation of a low-carbon, climate resilient and circular economy
We are currently looking at ways to integrate sustainability considerations into our financial policy framework to mobilise finance for sustainable growth.
- European Green Deal Investment Plan
- European Fund for Strategic Investments
- Platform on sustainable finance
- EU taxonomy on sustainable activities
- EU Green Bond standard
A just transition
The transition to a sustainable and climate-neutral economy must happen in a fair way, leaving no one behind.
Some territories that rely strongly on extractive industries and related energy production as well as carbon intensive industries will need to restructure and/or diversify their economy, maintain social cohesion and (re-)train the affected workers and young people to prepare them for future jobs.
To address the specific challenges in these regions, the Commission has introduced a Just Transition Mechanism that provides targeted support.
Cities and regions
European regions will be increasingly confronted with the impacts of climate change. Action in cities, towns and rural areas all across Europe is essential for the green transition.
- EU action on regional and urban development
- Cooperation between regions and countries
- European Week of Regions and Cities
- Regional campaigns
- Cities and urban development
- Urban agenda for the EU
- Horizon 2020 mission: Climate-neutral and smart cities
Research and innovation
Research and innovation play a crucial role in our efforts to tackle climate change.
EU and international research have significantly furthered our understanding of the causes of climate change. Today’s pressing challenge is to explore and forecast the impacts of climate change and provide effective responses to it.
- EU support to research and innovation on climate action
- Horizon 2020: Environment & climate action
- Horizon Europe
- Copernicus – Europe’s eyes on earth
- European Data Portal
The EU is tackling global sustainability challenges through action in Europe and cooperation with countries and regions outside Europe.