A four-percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 and the green effects of the pandemic will help the EU meet two of its three 2020 climate goals, a report published Monday showed.
Outlined in 2007 and adopted in 2009, the three goals include a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent from 1990 levels, a share of at least 20 percent for renewables in energy consumption, and a 20-percent improvement in energy efficiency.
According to the European Environment Agency report, the two first goals will be met in 2020, while the third one, on energy efficiency, is not expected to be reached.
In 2019, emissions in the EU -- excluding Britain -- decreased by four percent year-on-year. That was the second-biggest annual decline after 2009 when the region was mired in a financial crisis, according to the EEA, and brought the region's overall emissions 24 percent below the 1990 level.
Meanwhile, EEA preliminary figures show that renewables accounted for 19.4 percent of energy consumed in the EU in 2019, close to the 20-percent target.
Looking beyond 2020, the Commission is aiming for a 55-percent reduction of European emissions in 2030 from 1990 levels, with the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.
Meanwhile, Europe's top rights court said Monday that it would give priority status to a lawsuit filed by six young Portuguese citizens against 33 nations they say are not fulfilling obligations to limit climate change.
It is the first such lawsuit heard by the European Court of Human Rights, whose rulings must in theory be applied by all Council of Europe members.
The six Portuguese plaintiffs, aged eight to 21, say the fierce wildfires that have ravaged Portugal in recent years are due in part to a failure of governments to abide by their commitments as part of the 2015 Paris Accord to combat global warming.