Lithuania could direct the EU's increasing funding toward reaching a more ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target proposed by the European Commission, Virginijus Sinkevičius, the country's European commissioner for environment, oceans and fisheries, said.
In her annual State of the Union address, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen suggested setting a goal of cutting greenhouse emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030, up from the previous target of 40 percent.
“I recognize that this increase from 40 to 55 [percent] is too much for some, and not enough for others,” the president said.
“But for us, the 2030 target is ambitious, achievable, and beneficial for Europe,” she added.
EU leaders will try to agree on the goal at their summit in October. It would then have to be approved by the European Parliament, where a majority of MEPs want a more ambitious target.
The more ambitious target is backed by France and Germany, as well as a significant number of MEPs, but is criticised by Poland and other Visegrad countries.
In the absence of exact calculations, Lithuanian government officials have so far been cautious about new climate targets, saying they may burden the transport and agricultural sectors.
“Lithuania will have to review its energy and climate change plan to bring it into line with the new goal,” Sinkevičius told BNS on Wednesday.
“However, Lithuania will have the tools to do so. These are additional funding under Next Generation EU, the new financial perspective and the Just Transition Mechanism,” the European commissioner said.
“As far as I know, Lithuania has the DNA of the Future Economy plan, but it has no detailed plan for how it will use the significantly increased EU investment, and I think this is a great way to do the homework and link the new goals to the use of these funds,” he added.
To mitigate climate change, European countries intend to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. This will require increasing energy efficiency, investing more in carbon capture and storage technologies, electrification and alternatives to fossil fuels, renovating homes, and encouraging consumers to change their habits.
The European Commission's proposal to cut greenhouse emissions in Europe by 55 percent by 2030 is an ambitious target, but it is achievable for Lithuania, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Wednesday.
“We haven't yet discussed this issue in principle at a Cabinet meeting, only tentatively. When we discuss it at a meeting, that decision will be made public,” Skvernelis told reporters.
“The goal is ambitious and, I believe, achievable for Lithuania, too,” he added.