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This week in Brussels, key diary dates include a debate among environment ministers on the European Commission’s recommendation for a 2040 target to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to 90% below 1990 levels. The EU has already agreed to a 55% reduction by the end of the current decade and a 90% reduction is seen as necessary to achieve the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. The discussion will focus on how Europe should transition towards climate neutrality post-2030 and which economic sectors have the potential to contribute most.

In a significant move, nearly half of EU members have called for a revival of the nuclear power industry, with some political leaders stating that EU climate goals would be unattainable without it. A group of over 100 corporate leaders, including companies like IKEA, Coca Cola, and Google, have also endorsed a 90% target for greenhouse gas emissions reduction. This comes as election season approaches, with EU elections in June and several member states set to vote for their national governments this year, leading some politicians to tread carefully in making bold environmental declarations.

Ministerial deliberations on climate action will continue behind closed doors in Brussels, with a focus on achieving a climate-neutral and resilient society by 2050. This discussion will inform the drafting of the EU’s next Strategic Agenda, which will set the course for the bloc’s political direction from 2024 to 2029. The debate on nuclear power continues, with 11 member states backing nuclear investments as a means to aid in coal phase-outs and address the intermittency of renewables. This stance has faced opposition from environmental campaigners like Lorelei Limousin, who believe that building more reactors is not a viable solution.

A policy poll reveals that roughly half of EU governments have signed a declaration calling for a global nuclear revival. The poll asks whether European nuclear power plants should be decommissioned, complement renewables, or receive a funding boost, highlighting the ongoing debate surrounding the role of nuclear energy in the region. Additionally, the European Commission is considering a Biotech Act to boost the bloc’s life science sector, signaling potential new policy measures to support innovation and growth in this industry.

Overall, the discussions and developments in Brussels this week underscore the importance of climate action and the role of nuclear power in achieving ambitious emissions reduction targets. As political leaders grapple with decisions about the future of the EU’s energy and environmental policies, it remains to be seen how different stakeholders, including governments, businesses, and civil society, will shape the path towards a more sustainable and resilient European Union.

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