European Wilderness Society

EU Climate Law finally adopted

Last Monday, 28th of June, the European Council adopted its first ever Climate Law. But what are its key dedications and what other work has to be done to make it really happen?

Background and key points

On 12th of December 2019, the Council agreed on the objective of making the EU climate-neutral by 2050. Behind this initiative there was the Paris Agreement. This agreement suggested the need to limit the increase of global average temperature by 1.5% compared to pre-industrial levels. Moreover, the agreement also required the states to take under stricter control the greenhouse-gas emissions. Since the EU is a party to the Paris Agreement, these points were taken into account when agreeing on climate-neutrality.

On 4th of March 2020, the European Commission adopted its proposal for this exact Climate Law. On 17th of September, however, it was amended to include the EU emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030. Last week, the Climate Law was finally adopted, making the above-mentioned targets binding among member states. Now it has to be signed and then – it will enter into force.

Still some work to be done

Most of the current policies within the numerous sectors are targeting 40% emission reduction by 2030. This means, that such policies will now have to be restructured to address a higher target and to keep up with other relevant EU and international climate-related regulations.

To support both EU businesses and governments in this endeavour, the European Commission is now preparing a set of complementary policies. These proposals will address the changes that should happen within industry, energy, transport and housing sectors to limit their emissions to a certain degree. Specifically, they will include EU carbon market reforms, tougher CO2 standards for new cars, and more ambitious renewable energy targets.

Furthermore, the EU Climate Law will also establish a European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change. This board will further advise governments and businesses on climate targets and indicative greenhouse gas budgets. Both of them will have to be aligned with the European Climate Law and both EU and international commitments under the Paris Agreement.

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