EU leaders agreed on Friday after a long night of wrangling to set a more ambitious target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030.
“Europe is the leader in the fight against climate change," European Council president and summit host Charles Michel declared on Twitter.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said: “Europe will reduce emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030. It puts us on a clear path towards climate neutrality in 2050."
The leaders had debated climate change measures for eight long hours, dragging a summit that started on Thursday through into the morning.
Poland, backed by some other coal-dependent central European countries had been holding out for guarantees on funding to pay for a clean energy transition.
The debate pushed talks on Brexit down the agenda, and the division took some of the shine off the earlier announcement that the leaders had agreed the EU long-term budget.
But as the sun came up over Brussels, the leaders announced their climate breakthrough.