“Game changer” for European Laws regarding climate neutrality
CLIMATE CHECK- All new legislative proposals advanced by the EU Commission to be consistent with climate policy and align with decarbonisation target.
On Wednesday the 21st of April, a bleary-eyed Jytte Guteland (Rapporteur Climate Law) and Pascal Canafin (Chair of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee) held a press conference. They were announcing to the world the results of the negotiations between the European Parliament and the European Council that had lasted until 5.30 in the morning and will pave the way for the European Climate Law.
They described this agreement and the flurry of laws it will facilitate as a game changer.
This climate law will affect more than 50 laws as part of the legislative train schedule which can be viewed here
It’s a big deal and it commits the EU to decarbonising 2.5 times faster this decade (2020-2030) than we did in the last decade.
European Parliament’s ambition tempered by the European Council
While the Parliament wanted a more ambitious 60% reduction in emissions by 2030, Pascal Canafin explained that the Council negotiators were firmly wedded to their previously agreed net 55% reduction in emissions by 2030.
Where the compromise was reached was in capping the contributions carbon removals can make to the reduction, in effect requiring a 52.8% reduction in absolute emissions. A commission proposal to revise the Land Use/Land Use Change/Forestry Regulation (LULUCF) brings the total to nearly 57%
Jytte Guteland described the agreement as having the “muscles needed”.
Converting targets into action
Of particular interest is the specific focus clause, which they believe will be transformational.
By law, it requires the Commission to check that any and all new legislative proposals from the Commission is consistent with the pathway to carbon neutrality by 2050 or explain and justify the specific reasons for the deviation from this pathway. This will affect all the upcoming legislation including energy and transport legislation and the next Common Agricultural Policy.
A new European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change will be set up, made up of 15 experts . This independent board will advise on whether policies are consistent with climate neutrality and advise on progress.
They believe this pressure in the system of law-making will strengthen and reinforce the climate law and avoid a situation where targets are divorced from real progress in reducing emissions.