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EU Climate Law still needs more ambitious emissions targets

Sandbags Outside Front Door Of Flooded House

MEPs in the environment committee voted to improve the European Commission’s proposal for the bloc’s first-ever Climate Law today. But more work is needed to increase targets and reduce emissions at source.

Policymakers from across the political spectrum came together to boost Europe’s climate ambition today. [1]

The MEPs in the environment committee voted, amongst other things, to increase the EU’s 2030 target for emissions reduction to 60%. This represents a significant increase from the 55% proposed by the European Commission, but it is still not in line with the 65% target proposed by MEP Jytte Guteland and supported by scientific evidence and civil society organisations.  

The committee is expected to finalise its vote on Guteland’s report, which includes other aspects of climate policy, tomorrow morning. The European Parliament as a whole will then cast its vote in the first half of October.

Barbara Mariani, senior policy officer for climate at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said:

“This is a good progress in the fight against climate change, but policymakers have not gone far enough. Scientific evidence points towards the need to increase the EU target to at least 65%. We hope that the environment committee will reconsider its position in the light of the Impact Assessment that the Commission will present in the coming weeks and the revised EU Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement”

The EEB  warned that a higher target is needed as the current baseline for calculations does not take into account the emissions embodied in goods produced in the EU and in those that are imported. According to Eurostat, about 15% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions are imported from third countries. [2]

Regrettably, MEPs also failed to vote in favour of provisions to tackle emissions at source, particularly from the agricultural sector. Berenice Dupeux, senior policy officer for agriculture at the EEB, said:

“Methane emissions from farming remain the blind spot of EU law, despite the growing role they play in the climate crisis. This is a big problem for the European Commission, which plans to spend over 40% of its climate budget on a farming system which – in the business as usual scenario – is unlikely to significantly reduce emissions.” [3]

On a positive note, MEPs strengthened the Commission’s proposal with several provisions, including the recognition that climate neutrality needs to be binding for all member states  and not just for the EU as a whole. 

Notes to editors 

[1] https://twitter.com/EP_Environment/status/1304055629682798592 

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/pdfscache/10389.pdf

[3] http://capreform.eu/climate-measures-in-agriculture/