EU unveils new Climate Law
The EU has today unveiled new legislation to ensure Europe is the world’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050 as part of its 'green deal’ vision.
The Climate Law sets the direction of travel for the EU's environmental policy, and is designed to provide predictability for public authorities, businesses and citizens.
It includes a legally binding target for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by midway of the century, with member states collectively bound to take the necessary actions at the EU and national level.
This comes almost three months after the bloc unveiled its ‘European Green Deal’ to halt climate change, reverse biodiversity loss, cut pollution, and boost the efficient use of natural resources.
President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The Climate Law is the legal translation of our political commitment, and sets us irreversibly on the path to a more sustainable future.
"It offers predictability and transparency for European industry and investors, and gives direction to our green growth strategy and guarantees that the transition will be gradual and fair.”
The law includes measures to keep track of progress and adjust actions based on existing systems, such as the governance process for member states' national energy and climate plans.
Progress will be reviewed every five years, in line with the global stocktake exercise under the Paris Agreement.
The European Commission said it would propose a new 2030 target for emissions after a comprehensive impact assessment, and that the Climate Law would be amended accordingly.
The commission will have the power to issue recommendations to member states whose actions are inconsistent with the climate-neutrality objective.
Member States will also be required to develop and implement adaptation strategies to strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to the effects of climate change.
Executive vice-president for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans said: “We are turning words into action today to show our European citizens that we are serious about reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“The Climate Law is also a message to our international partners that this is the year to raise global ambition together in the pursuit of our shared Paris Agreement goals.”
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Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM