European Union leaders struck a deal on a new target to cut carbon emissions by 2030 to at least 40 percent below 1990 levels, calling it a new global standard, but critics warned that compromises had undermined the fight against climate change. Poland had fought to spare its coal industry and other states tweaked the guideline text on global warming to protect varied economic interests, including nuclear plants, cross-border power lines and farmers whose livestock belch out polluting methane. The 28-nation bloc has already nearly met an existing goal of a 20-percent cut by 2020, in part because communist-era industry in the east collapsed.
EU leaders called the 40-percent target an ambitious signal to the United States and China to follow suit at a U.N. climate summit in France in December 2015. But environmentalists have complained that the EU's own experts say it must make an at least 80-percent cut by 2050 to limit the rise in global average temperatures to two degrees Celsius. And they were further disappointed by a softening in the final agreement of goals for increasing the use of solar, wind and other renewable energy sources and for improving efficiency through insulation, cleaner engines and the like.