EU countries on June 28 approved a law to make the bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions targets legally binding. Negotiators reached a deal in April to reduce net EU emissions by 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels, and reach net-zero by 2050, but it received the final seal of approval this week.
What is Happening?
- Ministers from 27 EU countries formally approved the deal, except for Bulgaria, which abstained. The targets apply to overall EU emissions, rather than a binding requirement for each country.
- Leaders from all EU countries signed up to the 55% 2030 emissions target in December 2020, and are hoping to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
- The law aims to put climate at the heart of all EU policy making, ensuring that future regulations support the targets. However, doing so will require a massive policy overhaul. Most EU laws are designed to meet a previous target to cut emissions by 40% by 2030.
- The European Commission will begin that upgrade on July 14, when it proposes a dozen policies to reshape industry, energy, transport and housing to emit less CO2. The proposals will include EU carbon market reforms, tougher CO2 standards for new cars, and more ambitious renewable energy targets.
- The climate law also requires the EU to launch an independent expert body to advise on climate policies, and a budget-like mechanism to calculate the total emissions the EU can produce from 2030-2050, under its climate targets.
- While the law was recently approved, Parliament and member states will sign the text, a formal step, this week before it becomes law.
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João Pedro Matos Fernandes, Minister of Environment and Climate Action of Portugal, says, “We are very happy with the provisional deal reached today. The European climate law is “the law of laws” that sets the frame for the EU’s climate-related legislation for the 30 years to come. The EU is strongly committed to becoming climate neutral by 2050 and today we can be proud to have set in stone an ambitious climate goal that can get everyone’s support. With this agreement we send a strong signal to the world – right ahead of the Leader’s Climate Summit on 22 April – and pave the way for the Commission to propose its “fit-for-55” climate package in June.”
Featured image by: Flickr