MEPs approve climate law, introduce stricter emission targets

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MEPs have approved by a large majority the so-called Climate Law, which sets binding rules for achieving the European Union’s common emission targets. A key standard of the EU’s environmental strategy sets out how the Union should achieve climate neutrality in the middle of the century, with the plan including a range of methods to either stop producing greenhouse gas emissions, or to balance them, for example, by planting new trees.

“Science is very clear. If we do not reduce our emissions quickly, the result will be catastrophic,” commented the Swedish rapporteur of the proposal, Jytte Guteland of the Socialist Group. Along with her, 441 deputies supported the norm, 203 voted against and 51 abstained.

The standard, which has yet to be formally approved by member states, translates into a legally binding commitment agreed by states and MEPs last year. According to it, the Union will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 instead of the originally planned 40 percent by at least 55 percent compared to 1990. Many MEPs, especially from the Greens, sought an even stricter commitment and, therefore, did not support the proposal. The compromise option meets the requirements of the member states, some of which, including the Czech Republic, considered the 55 percent target to be too ambitious.

Climate rules generally define the measures that the Union should take towards zero emissions. The elaboration of detailed proposals will take place in the coming months and years at the level of the European Commission. It first wants to present in mid-July more ambitious commitments in the share of renewable energy sources or emissions from road transport.

The current strategy takes into account the previous lower targets and the new proposal is expected to provoke loud and long discussions between member states and, for example, in the automobile lobby.

Title image: European Parliament members attend the opening of the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Monday June 7, 2021. The European Parliament holds its first session in Strasbourg since the beginning of the pandemic.(Frederick Florin, Pool via AP)

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