EU clinches deal on climate law, tougher 2030 emissions goal

Reuters Brussels | Updated on April 21, 2021

Aims to cut net emissions by at least 55%

The European Union, on Wednesday, clinched a deal on a climate change law that commits the bloc to more than halving its net greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade.

The deal arrives just in time for a summit of world leaders hosted by the US government on Thursday and Friday, where the EU and other global powers will promote their pledges to protect the planet.

Zero net emissions

The European climate law will guide EU’s climate-related regulations in the coming decades, steering it towards reaching zero net emissions by 2050.

Also read: Target Net Zero: India’s plan to address climate change

It targets to cut EU-wide net emissions by at least 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels, replacing a previous goal for a 40% cut.

Negotiators agreed to limit the amount of emission removals that can be counted towards the 2030 target, to 225 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. If adopted globally, it would limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels and avoid the worst impact of climate change.

Approval pending

After months of wrangling and a full night of negotiations on Tuesday, negotiators representing the European Parliament and the 27 EU governments finished the law. The deal still needs formal approval from parliament and national governments. The 2030 target sets the stage for a major package of EU regulations due in June to cut emissions faster this decade. They will include proposals to revamp the EU carbon market,tougher CO2 standards for cars, and a border tariff to impose CO2 costs on imports of polluting goods.

The climate law requires Brussels to create an independent body of 15 climate science experts, to monitor and advise on EU climate policies. It must also calculate a greenhouse gas budget to confirm the total emissions the EU can produce from 2030-2050, without thwarting its climate goals.

"This is a landmark moment for the EU. We have reached an ambitious agreement to write our climate neutrality target into binding legislation, as a guide to our policies for the next 30years," Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans said.

Published on April 21, 2021

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