The European Parliament and EU member states have reached a major climate deal, agreeing to go carbon neutral by 2050 and getting there by aiming to cut carbon emissions by "at least" 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

Smoke billows from the Belchatow power station in Belchatow, Poland. October 31, 2013.
Smoke billows from the Belchatow power station in Belchatow, Poland. October 31, 2013. (Kacper Pempel / Reuters)

The European Parliament and EU member states have reached a major climate deal, agreeing to go climate-neutral by 2050 and getting there by aiming to cut carbon emissions by "at least" 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

“Our political commitment to becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 is now also a legal commitment. The climate law sets the EU on a green path for a generation,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen early on Wednesday.

Under the provisional deal reached after officials negotiated through the night, the EU also commits itself on an intermediate target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

“It was high time for the agreement, as Europe has to show where it stands in view of the positive developments in the USA and China,” said MEP Peter Liese, the negotiator for the EPP Christian Democrat group.

READ MORE: CO2 increase for 2021 predicted to be largest in over a decade

The EU target will be formally incorporated into a "climate law", and comes after months of deadlocked talks that resumed early Tuesday afternoon and continued until after 0100 GMT.

"The European Climate Law enshrines the EU's commitment to reaching climate neutrality by 2050 and the intermediate target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels," read the statement.

Up to now, the 2030 target had been 40 percent but under the pressure of increasing evidence of climate change and a more environmentally-conscious electorate that target was pushed up, even if the EU legislature had wanted at 60 percent target.

The Greens specifically complained that too many accounting tricks had been used to reach the level of 55 percent while in reality the reduction would be lower.

Wednesday's EU deal still needs to be officially approved by the member states and the legislature but should be little more than a rubber stamp.

READ MORE: Turkey makes strides in producing electric automobiles

US climate aims

The United States, the world’s second-biggest polluter after China, is preparing to announce its new target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Under Biden, the United States has returned to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and all global partners will be meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, to push for strong targets.

Both Washington and Brussels are aiming to go “carbon neutral” by midcentury, a goal scientists say needs to be achieved to keep average global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) by the year 2100. The Paris accord’s more ambitious target of capping global warming at 1.5 C (2.7 F) by the end of the century compared with pre-industrial times would likely require even more drastic worldwide cuts in emissions.

READ MORE: China aims to become carbon-neutral by 2060

Biden has invited dozens of world leaders to join the two-day virtual summit starting on Thursday, after bringing the US back into the 2015 Paris Agreement on cutting global carbon emissions.

China's President Xi Jinping will attend the summit, in the first meeting between the two leaders since the advent of the new US administration.

Xi will attend the summit via video and will deliver an "important" speech, Hua Ch unying, spokeswoman at the Chinese foreign ministry, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Beijing and Washington have persistently clashed over a range of issues from alleged human rights abuses to China's economic clout over other nations.

READ MORE: Biden invites Russia, China to first global climate crisis talks

READ MORE: New Zealand introduces world's first climate legislation for finance firms

Source: TRTWorld and agencies