EU lawmakers fail again to increase EU climate target

In April 2021 the EU reached agreement on the Climate Law. Climate Action Network Europe is critical of the results of the trilogues and said that “EU lawmakers rushed an agreement on the Law and failed to deliver on what could have been an ambitious climate governance framework, including a strong 2030 emissions reductions target, and expanding the climate neutrality objective to all member states individually”. CAN Europe had called on the EU to increase the target for 2030 to reduce GHG emissions by at least 65 per cent compared to 1990 levels. Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, said repeatedly in recent months, “countries are not living up to the promises they made more than five years ago in Paris. As a historic emitter that has already used a high amount of the available carbon budget, the EU needs to make more stringent cuts than the rest of the world”.

EU lawmakers have failed again to use the opportunity of the Climate Law negotiations to increase the EU’s climate target beyond the already agreed minimum of 55 per cent. “Last minute changes to the way carbon removals will be integrated in the overall target do not really change this,” commented CAN Europe.

Wendel Trio further added: “The fact of the matter is that the outcome of the Climate Law negotiations do not bring us any additional emission reductions on top of what the EU had already agreed. The ‘at least 55 per cent emission reduction target for 2030’ is not in line with the Paris Agreement’s ambition to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. European decision makers missed a historic opportunity to adequately address the climate crisis. This Climate Law is nothing more than a new package for what already exists, rushed by EU lawmakers to bring something to the Leaders’ Summit organised by the US. This is definitely not the kind of Climate Law that will help the EU to lead the global efforts to tackle climate change.”

The World Meteorological Organization’s most recent report, the “State of Global Climate 2020”, has underlined that 2020 was already 1.2°C warmer than pre-industrial times and unprecedented action is needed in the next decade if the world leaders are serious about keeping their promises under the Paris Agreement to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Unfortunately, the EU Climate Law is far from including an ambitious 2030 climate target that would be aspirational to other big economies. Its final version includes some wording on the additional EU action but does not address the issue of international shipping and aviation. In this way, the Climate Law leaves all decisive action for further increasing the EU’s climate ambition to the upcoming climate and energy legislation under the “Fit for 55” package.

On a more positive note, CAN Europe assesses, that “the Climate Law includes the establishment of an expert advisory body that would advise EU decision makers on emissions budgets, targets and trajectories, and the consistency of EU policies. The way the wording currently stands in the text is that the Body is to deliver ‘scientific advice on already existing European measures’. However, this risks limiting its role in providing forward-looking policy recommendations across sectors and on the consistency of policies.”

“Other key elements of the Climate Law such as extending climate neutrality to all member states or access to justice for citizens ended up not seeing the light of day in the final text due to massive push back from the Council,” CAN Europe concluded.


Compiled by Reinhold Pape

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