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EU agrees to cut emissions – but by less than required under Paris agreement

EUROPEAN Union countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 per cent by 2030 after marathon talks last night.

The agreement was billed as a response to dire warnings from the United Nations this week that unless action to curb emissions is radically stepped up, global temperatures will rise by 2°C by 2050, leading to huge changes in sea levels which could inundate major cities including London, Shanghai and Singapore, as well as causing more extreme weather events, droughts and famines.

However, it falls short of the 45 per cent reduction by 2030 offered by EU climate and energy commissioner Miguel Arias Canete in June and the 40 per cent the EU signed up to as part of the Paris agreement on climate change, which the United States has now walked out on.

The figure is halfway between the proposal of the European Parliament and the unelected European Commission, which wanted a lower 30 per cent figure. Germany fought to reduce the commitment, saying cutting emissions further would be bad for its manufacturing industry.

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