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Is Europe set to introduce a climate law?

The EU Commission has published its proposal for a climate law, which will drive the EU’s green growth strategy by setting a climate neutrality target of 30 years.

President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, commented: “We are acting today to make the EU the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050.

“[The climate law] offers predictability and transparency for European industry and investors. And it gives direction to our green growth strategy and guarantees that the transition will be gradual and fair.”

The law proposes a legally binding target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a statement by the Commission said.

It added that the law provides predictability for public authorities, businesses and citizens.

The law will implement measures, such as a governance process through which climate and energy plans by member states can be tracked and adjusted.

Progress will be reviewed every five years in line with the Paris Agreement timelines.

Stepping stone

Executive vice-president for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, told international partners that “this is the year to raise global ambition together”.

“The climate law will ensure we stay focused and disciplined, remain on the right track and are accountable for delivery,” he added.

Pascal Canfin, a French MEP for the centrist Renew Europe group, said that the law needs to be improved: “We have to go fast because we have to be ready with a trilogue agreement before the COP26 in Glasgow in November. Not doing so would be a huge failure for the European Union.

“And we must go further than the Commission’s proposal by setting an intermediate target for 2030 for a -55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and by demanding that all future EU legislation will be brought in line with climate neutrality.

“The European Commission must not slow us down by postponing the impact assessment of the 2030 target until September. As requested by 12 member states, it must have it ready by June.”

Elisa Giannelli, researcher at E3G, said to Expert Investor: “We consider the proposal a good stepping stone for implementing the European Green Deal project and putting the EU on track to meet its long-term climate objective.

“With extraordinary public and internal pressure to take climate action, the real significance of the long-term target is the ripple effect on the broader European policy framework.

“The climate law will need to improve, however, to avoid failure in setting up a holistic political approach.”

The Commission has also launched a public consultation on a European Climate Pact, which is a broad initiative allowing citizens and stakeholders to participate in designing climate actions, sharing information and delivering solutions.

Elena Johansson

Senior Reporter

Part of the Bonhill Group.