Western Balkan states need to set clear and ambitious climate targets and action plans for the period through 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by mid-century in order to stay in line with the goals of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C as envisaged by the Paris Agreement, CAN Europe said.
In order to boost Europe-wide efforts in combating climate change, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe released a set of recommendations and a discussion paper to help the Western Balkan countries set a clear and ambitious path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The briefing aims to inform the process of setting 2030 targets in the Energy Community.
The European Commission is expected to present an analysis on the 2030 targets in the autumn and it will be discussed at the Ministerial Council of the Energy Community in November.
No corners to cut
“Regional leaders should honour their pledges made within the Sofia Declaration that sets to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Otherwise, environmental, social and financial challenges will soon become even more severe for the region,” the organization warned.
As signatories of the Paris Agreement and the Sofia Declaration, the countries of the region have also put forth clear political pledges to contribute to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius
According to the paper, the region must significantly reduce emissions, with ambitious policy frameworks and action plans for each country, if they are to achieve their 2050 climate neutrality goal. As signatories of the Paris Agreement and the Sofia Declaration, the countries of the region have also put forth clear political pledges to contribute to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
CAN Europe released one more ambitious and one less ambitious plan for reducing emissions and the study shows Western Balkans countries have no corners to cut. Emissions from the energy sector in the region account, on average, for 74% of all greenhouse gas emissions. The main emitter is the outdated and inefficient coal thermal power fleet.
No future for coal plants
While Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are still planning new coal plants, other three Western Balkan countries defaulted on their plans to build new coal generating capacities, namely the Kosova e Re project in Kosovo* (500 MW), Pljevlja 2 in Montenegro (254 MW) and Oslomej in North Macedonia (129.5 MW), the organization said.
The trend should continue, ensuring an informed, inclusive and participatory process of affected communities, it added.
“Setting the 2030 targets will be a leading factor within the future energy transition in the Western Balkans. Thus, it is of vital importance to seize this moment and set the path towards the necessary ambition in order to be able to reach climate neutrality by 2050 in the Western Balkans, respect the Paris Agreement pledges and, most importantly, ensure a clean and healthy future,” said Viktor Berishaj from CAN Europe.