The EU 40 % greenhouse gas emission reduction target by 2030 in perspective

  • A. F. Hof
  • M. G. J. den Elzen
  • A. Mendoza Beltran
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10784-016-9317-x

Cite this article as:
Hof, A.F., den Elzen, M.G.J. & Mendoza Beltran, A. Int Environ Agreements (2016) 16: 375. doi:10.1007/s10784-016-9317-x


We assess the fairness and ambition level of the EU’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) of reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 % relative to 1990. For this, we calculate which reduction targets for other major emitting economies are comparable to the EU target, given widely diverging effort-sharing approaches. We introduce a novel approach in which the EU target is taken as starting point for allocating emission reductions to other regions. Under this approach, the global emission level is an outcome of the analysis, contrary to standard effort-sharing approaches in which the global climate goal is specified. We find that the INDC of the EU, if other regions take on comparable targets based on a differentiated convergence per-capita approach, could be sufficient for a global 2 °C pathway. However, if emissions are allocated according to a historical responsibility approach, the global emission level in 2030 is much higher than the level of 2 °C pathways. Furthermore, we conclude that India, Mexico, and Brazil have more ambitious INDCs than the EU according to both a differentiated convergence per-capita approach and a historical responsibility approach.


Climate change INDCs Burden sharing Effort sharing Mitigation 

Supplementary material

10784_2016_9317_MOESM1_ESM.docx (26 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 26 kb)

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
European Commission
  • 603942

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. F. Hof
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. G. J. den Elzen
    • 1
  • A. Mendoza Beltran
    • 3
  1. 1.PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment AgencyBilthovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Copernicus Institute of Sustainable DevelopmentUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.CML Industrial EcologyLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations