The European Commission on Thursday presented its new climate plan for 2030, including a tougher target to cut emissions by 55% of their 1990 levels.
Frans Timmermans, European Commissioner for the European Green Deal, said the future of the next generations was at stake if the EU failed to take action now.
"Only two months ago I held my first grandson ... I also worried what sort of world would he live in when he reaches 20 years of age," he said. "His entire future depends on whether we get it right - now."
As part of the plan, the commission published suggested amendments to a previously proposed European Climate Law, including the new legally binding emissions cut target of 55%, up from 40%.
Timmermans said the commission would present a detailed plan of how to achieve that target by June 2021.
The European Parliament and EU leaders still need to approve the proposals, which are likely to face resistance from countries economically relying on carbon-heavy industries, such as coal.
Timmermans said some existing schemes would have to be extended to achieve a greener Europe. The EU's emissions trading system, under which producers pay for the carbon-dioxide they produce, could for example be extended to include the shipping industry.
Free allowances would also have to be reduced, he added.
So far, net emissions have only been reduced by 22% compared to 1990, a commission impact assessment found. This includes net absorption and emissions of the EU's land-use and forests.