Provisional Agreement on the European Climate Law

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: European Commission
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: European Commission

In addition to the 2050 climate neutrality target, the deal strengthens the European framework for climate action.

The European Commission has welcomed provisional agreement between the co-legislators on the European Climate Law. As one of the key elements of the European Green Deal, the European Climate Law enshrines the EU’s commitment to reaching climate neutrality by 2050 and the intermediate target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. 

This agreement on the European Climate Law is a key milestone for the von der Leyen Commission, delivering on one of the commitments announced in the President’s Political Guidelines in July 2019.

President Ursula von der Leyen said: “I am delighted that we have reached an agreement on this core element of the European Green Deal. Our political commitment to becoming the first climate neutral continent by 2050 is now also a legal commitment. The Climate Law sets the EU on a green path for a generation. It is our binding pledge to our children and grandchildren.”

Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans added: “This is a landmark moment for the EU. We have reached an ambitious agreement to write our climate neutrality target into binding legislation, as a guide to our policies for the next 30 years. The Climate Law will shape the EU’s green recovery and ensure a socially just green transition.”

In addition to the 2050 climate neutrality target, the deal strengthens the European framework for climate action by introducing the following elements:

  • an ambitious 2030 climate target of at least 55% reduction of net emissions as compared to 1990, with clarity on the contribution of emission reductions and removals;
  • recognition of the need to enhance the EU’s carbon sink through a more ambitious LULUCF regulation, for which the Commission will make proposals in June 2021;
  • a process for setting a 2040 climate target, taking into account an indicative greenhouse gas budget for 2030-2050 to be published by the Commission;
  • a commitment to negative emissions after 2050;
  • the establishment of European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change, that will provide independent scientific advice;
  • stronger provisions on adaptation to climate change;
  • strong coherence across Union policies with the climate neutrality objective;
  • a commitment to engage with sectors to prepare sector-specific roadmaps charting the path to climate neutrality in different areas of the economy.

The Commission tabled its proposal for a European Climate Law on 4 March 2020. Once the provisional agreement is formally approved by Parliament and Council, the European Climate Law will be published in the Official Journal of the Union and will enter into force.

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Rakesh Raman