Slovenia latest nation to seek carbon neutrality by 2050

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia became the latest country on Tuesday to declare a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, saying it would achieve that by reduced fossil fuel use and sustainable solutions for transport, housing and industry.

The European Union (EU) is hoping to enshrine that ambition - meaning net zero greenhouse gas emissions - into law this year for the whole 28-member bloc. Some nations including Britain and France have already signed up to the goal.

In its national energy and climate plan, EU member Slovenia’s Infrastructure Ministry said it wanted to follow suit, and planned to reduce emissions by at least 36% by 2030 compared to 2005.

“The national energy and climate plan is ... the first and key step towards climate neutral society,” the ministry said.

It added that Slovenia has to decide by 2027 whether to build a new nuclear power plant. Slovenia’s sole nuclear plant Krsko is due to close in 2043 and Prime Minister Marjan Sarec had said there should be a second plant to meet increasing demand for electricity. [nL5N25I45K]

Slovenia hopes to gradually reduce the use of coal and phase it out by 2050 at the latest, the ministry said in its plan. The use of renewable energy sources is due to rise to at least 27% by 2030 from some 13% at present.

“The lead principle of Slovenia is to improve energy and material efficiency in all sectors,” it said.

The government is expected to approve the energy and climate plan in the coming months.

Environmental lobbyists say hitting carbon neutrality goals is a minimum needed to prevent impending catastrophe around the world from the impact of global warming.

Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne