STRASBOURG (Reuters) - Europe needs to reduce its carbon emissions by more than currently planned to limit global warming as agreed under the Paris climate agreement, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told the European Parliament on Wednesday.
The European Union aims to reduce carbon emissions, which scientists hold responsible for global warming, by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
"But it is not enough," Rutte told a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
"I am proposing a 55 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Not only to meet our obligations, but also because a competitive and forward-looking Europe is by definition a sustainable Europe," he added.
Studies have shown that reducing carbon emissions has become less costly as the price of generating electricity from renewable energy such as wind and solar has come down over the past years.
Still, climate policy remains a contentious issue in the European Union which often pits countries looking for tougher reduction targets against newer member states in the East which rely more on coal-powered plants for energy.
The 2016 Paris Agreement, aims to keep global temperature rises well below 2 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels.
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)