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EU 2040 climate target assessment: WorldGBC’s reaction

13 February 2024

Last week, the European Commission recommended that the EU commit to reducing its net greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2040.

The 2040 climate target forms an important stepping stone between the EU’s commitment to reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, and the EU Green Deal’s goal of climate neutrality by 2050.

The recommendation has been made after a consultation in 2023, which also asked respondents to recommend which sectoral transformations should be prioritised to achieve the target in practice.

In a position paper released last year, WorldGBC recommended that the 2040 climate target be set at over 90% to bring the EU as closely in alignment as possible with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The paper also highlighted the potential of the buildings sector in achieving this target, making specific policy recommendations which had previously been set out in our Whole Life Carbon roadmap in areas such as building regulations, waste and circularity, sustainable procurement and sustainable finance.

Following the European Elections in June 2024, the new Commission will progress last week’s communication and impact assessment report with a full legislative proposal on the 2040 climate target, which must be agreed upon with the European Parliament and Member States as required under the EU Climate Law.


WorldGBC’s reaction to the Commission’s recommended 2040 climate target

WorldGBC supports setting a further intermediary EU climate target in the lead up to 2050, and the European Commission has shown a reasonable level of ambition in setting this 2040 target at 90%.

However, while it is encouraging that the Commission’s communication mentions the importance of the Energy-Efficiency First principle (page 12) and the renewable energy transition in achieving the 2040 climate target (including heat pump deployment), the document would benefit from a clearer description of specific measures that would help to increase renovation rates, including some of those referenced in the Impact Assessment Report.

A focus on renovation, and a detailed plan to facilitate built environment decarbonisation across its full lifecycle, should represent priority actions to achieve the EU’s 2040 climate target.

Finally, there is a clear opportunity to establish a link between the European Commission’s Whole Life Carbon Roadmap and the action plan to achieve a 2040 target. WorldGBC recommends that the Roadmap be published as soon as possible to provide greater clarity to industry and European policymakers.


Read WorldGBC’s full position paper on the EU’s 2040 climate target here, as well as the EU Whole Life Carbon roadmap — developed with building stakeholders from across the value chain in 2022.