On October 23, 2014, EU leaders decided to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 and increase energy efficiency and renewables by at least 27 percent.

Based on the principles identified in the European Council’s conclusions published in March 2014, the European Council agreed on the 2030 climate and energy policy framework for the European Union.

The European Council endorsed a binding EU target of at least a 40 percent domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared with 1990. The main European instrument to achieve this target will be the reformed Emissions Trading System (ETS). In this context, Member States with a GDP per capita below 60 percent of the EU average may opt to continue to give free allowances to the energy sector up to 2030. This provision also concerns Poland, and may prevent the rise of the energy prices in the near future. According to diplomatic sources, the Polish energy industry could receive an additional quota of free entitlements -- up to 31 billion zlotys (approximately US$9.1 billion).

Moreover, the existing 300 million allowances (NER300) will be renewed, including carbon capture and storage and renewables, with the scope extended to low carbon innovation in industrial sectors and the initial endowment increased to 400 million allowances (NER400). Also, a new reserve of 2 percent of the EU ETS allowances will be set aside to address particularly high additional investment needs in low income Member States (GDP per capita below 60 percent of the EU average).

With regard to the non-ETS sectors, the methodology to set the national reduction targets with all the elements as applied in the Effort Sharing Decision for 2020, will be continued until 2030, with efforts distributed on the basis of relative GDP per capita. The availability and use of existing flexibility instruments within the non-ETS sectors will be significantly enhanced in order to ensure the cost-effectiveness of the collective EU effort and convergence of emissions per capita by 2030.

What is more, an EU target of at least 27 percent is set for the share of renewable energy consumed in the EU in 2030, which will be binding at the EU level. Another target to be implemented by 2030 is an indicative target at the EU level of at least 27 percent for improving energy efficiency based on the current criteria. This target, however, will not be translated into nationally binding targets.

In conclusion, the European Council also stated that it is important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and risks related to fossil fuel dependency in the transport sector.

Additionally, acknowledgment of the multiple objectives of the agriculture and land use sector, with their lower mitigation potential, as well as the need to ensure coherence between the EU's food security and climate change objectives has to be established at the EU level.

Finally, recalling its conclusions of June 2014, the European Council endorsed further actions to reduce the EU's energy dependence and increase its energy security for both electricity and gas.