The new EU Climate Law proposal gets more ambitious

Publish date: September 10, 2020

New climate targets: a majority of the European Parliament Environmental committee voted to cut our GHG emission by 60% in 2030. The ball is now firmly in the European Parliament’s wider plenary and then the European Council’s court to increase climate ambition in the medium term for a rational pathway forward.

September 10th 2020 wins the award on being the most climate friendly day of this difficult year, at least in the EU. 

 Today, the European Parliament Environmental Committee (EP ENVI) has adopted by a large majority the EU Climate Law draft report, proposing 3 ambitious amendments to the European Commission’s proposal from March 2020. The  vote gives the final seal from the ENVI committee on the file to be submitted to the European Parliament which will be amending the file in the October Plenary session.

Below you find them outlined in the order of their importance and relevance for the overall EU Climate architecture and its global impact:

  1. The increase in the climate target for the EU has been raised to drive 60% reduction in emissions by 2030, when compared to 1990 levels. This is a stronger target than the 50-55% of the EU Commission proposal and it strengthens the credibility of the Union’s net-zero by 2050 commitment;

Bellona Europa recommended a –65% reduction in 2030 as a way to guarantee our future carbon savings, the raised target from the moderate one proposed by the Commission is getting  us closer to finally be talking about climate ambition:

A straight linear trajectory from 1990 to net-zero in 2050 would have us at –66% in 2030, so the –60% proposal of ENVI is substantially closer to giving us a safe landing towards a carbon neutral second half of the century” said Suzana Carp, Political Strategy Director at Bellona Europa

This is the single most important element in the ENVI position; however, it is not the only one.

  1. The adoptions of a provision to have an independent ‘European Climate Change Committee’, and for each Member State to have its own independent climate advisory body, to monitor the implementation of the EU Climate Law is a most welcome development and one that civil society, including our organisation, has endorsed.
  2. The adoption of a 2040inflexion point on the way to 2050 to have additional certainty on the EU’s trajectory to Net-Zero:
    The addition of a 2040 inflexion point is a – dare we say – ‘very good’ idea for the predictability of our decarbonisation plans, which investors and heavy industry so badly need. ; It is good to see the ENVI Committee placing this in the document, as encouraging as it is to have heard the German Presidency championing it.” continued Suzana Carp.

Bellona Europa further welcomes the inclusion of a Net-Negative EU after 2050. It is clear that the EU will need to vastly increase emissions reductions and the removal of carbon from the atmosphere at the same time. We caution however, that Carbon Dioxide Removal is not yet an exact science and we must be wary of overly prescriptive legislation.

The mentions of the Circular Economy Action Plan and Farm-to-Fork Strategy in relation to negative emissions in 2030 are premature, since we do not yet know if such processes can actually remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a manner intended to be permanent. We should further develop our knowledge on the topic before jumping to such conclusions.” said Mark Preston Aragonès, Policy Advisor at Bellona Europa.

We congratulate the ENVI Committee on their cautious optimism on negative emissions and call on MEPs to ensure the Commission follows on their promise to develop a scheme to certify Carbon Removals.

The ball is now firmly in the European Parliament’s wider plenary and then the European Council’s court to increase climate ambition in the medium term for a rational pathway forward.


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