European Commission unveils Climate Law
Today, the 4 March 2020, the Commission presented the first EU-wide climate law. EU Climate Law will enshrine into legislation the goal of becoming the first carbon neutral continent by 2050. The EU's ambition to become a 27-country climate neutral bloc by 2050 is at the heart of the European Green Deal presented by the von der Leyen Commission on 11 December 2019.
Carbon neutrality will be reached mainly by cutting emissions, investing in green technologies and protecting the natural environment. The act will ensure that all EU policies contribute to this goal and that all sectors of the economy and society play their part.
According to the Commission's President Ursula von der Leyen, "the Climate Law will oblige the European Union to take our climate goals into account in all future policy and legislation. [...] It offers predictability, it offers transparency to, for example, the European industry, to investors, to public authorities."
The European Climate Law provides the tools to measure progress against this long-term goal and allows the possibility to take corrective measures if needed in the future. When addressing possible proposals in the near future, European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans referred to the Emission Trading System, the Renewable Energy Directive, CO2 emission performance standards for cars and vans, the Regulation on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) and the Energy Efficiency Directive.
The Commission will assess collective progress towards achieving its purpose and long-term goals
progress every five years. It will do so by assessing the consistency of EU and national measures with the climate-neutrality objective and the 2030-2050 trajectory. The Commission will make recommendations to the Member States regarding their national measures towards meeting the target. The Commission can also review the adequacy of the trajectory and the Union wide measures. In order to impose the revised targets on Member States, the Commission is planning to adopt legally binding legislation that can enter into force if the European Parliament and European Council have no objections.
The European Climate Law will also require Member States to enhance their adaptive capacity and to strengthen the collective resilience to climate change risks. According to European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, the Commission will publish a new EU strategy on adaptation to climate change later this year.
The Commission is currently working on a detailed impact assessment taking into account all national energy and climate plans for 2030. It will explore options for a new target of 50 to 55% emission reduction compared to 1990. The Commission will propose a new 2030 target for greenhouse gas emissions reduction once the impact assessment is complete. Therefore, the Climate Law will be amended.
Several Member States, including Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden, expressed concern over the delay in presenting the 2030 target and requested that the Commission adopts a 2030 target "as soon as possible and by June 2020 at the latest". However, according to the proposal, the Commission will review the 2030 target by September 2020 only. The EU can then present its final plan to the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on 9–19 November 2020.
Photo source: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/photo/P-042842~2F00-02