Week of 19 April 2021
What does the new European Climate Law say?
Our key takeaway: The EU’s commitment to reach climate neutrality by 2050 has moved beyond political ambition to the law!
On 21 April 2021, the EU adopted the European Climate Law which:
- Enshrines the EU’s commitment to reach climate neutrality by 2050 into law. Following intervention from the EU Council of Ministers, the 2050 goal is a collective goal for the bloc, rather than an individual goal for each EU country. This means that some countries will be allowed to reach the objective later if others manage to decarbonise their economies sooner
- Agrees to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by “at least 55%” by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This was a more tricky negotiation point. The compromise reached was based on the inclusion of carbon sinks from agriculture and forestry, which means that the 2030 target is the equivalent of a gross reduction of 52.8% without these carbon removals. There will also be a 2040 target, which will be informed by a greenhouse gas budget (which determines how much carbon the EU can emit up to 2050 before it breaches the Paris Agreement, both to be proposed in 2023)
- Creates an independent scientific advisory body to advise policymakers on the alignment of EU policies with the bloc’s climate neutrality goal. The European Scientific Advisory Board will consist of 15 members from across Europe, for four-year mandates, who will provide scientific advice and report on policy measures and targets as well as greenhouse gas budgets.
For more, see European Commission, Commission welcomes provisional agreement on the European Climate Law (21 April 2021)
See also Frédéric Simon and Kira Taylor, Breakthrough as EU negotiators clinch deal on European climate law (Euractiv, April 2021)
Source: Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, The U.S. Has a New Climate Goal. How Does It Stack Up Globally? (April 2021, NYT)