The EU Green Deal and Climate Law

In December 2019, EU leaders agreed that Europe should achieve climate-neutrality by 2050. At the same time, the European Commission launched the EU Green Deal, a comprehensive policy package to put the EU on a path to reach this goal.

One of the first legislative proposals following the Green Deal, the EU Climate Law enshrines the goal of reaching climate neutrality by 2050 into legislation. Part of this legislative proposal is also the increase of the 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target from the current 40% one. In September 2020, the European Commission proposed a new emissions reduction target of “at least 55%” by 2030. But unlike the current target, the proposal includes the possibility of using carbon sinks by forests and land to reach the target. This could mean real cuts in emissions of only 50.5-52.8%. The European Parliament has voted in favour of 60% emission cuts. EU leaders adopted the Commission’s proposal as their position in December. For the EU to do its fair share to reach the Paris climate targets, it should aim to be climate-neutral by 2040. This means that the 2030 climate target should be 65%.

Reaching climate neutrality implies significant changes to existing policies, governance structures, land use and infrastructure, production methods, finance needs, and lifestyles.

Carbon Market Watch calls for EU governments to support at least the 60% target proposed by the European Parliament and the EU key climate policies such as the EU Emissions Trading System and the Effort Sharing Regulation to be made fit to achieve this goal.