The legislative proposals of the EU to tackle climate change
The 2030 target is cutting down emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
Published: February 10, 2022
The European Union has been an example to the world by being the first mover to turn the goal of achieving carbon neutrality into concrete regulations that must be complied with by all sectors of the economy and citizens of this continent once these policies are agreed, approved, and implemented by the competent legislative bodies.
Reality shows us that regulation is necessary and imminent to ensure that all the sectors of the EU economy are prepared to meet the 2030 target of cutting down emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. For this reason, it is fair to recognize the leadership of Europe in the creation of numerous legislative proposals, also called “Fit for 55 package” presented by the European Commission the 14 of July 2021, to permit the European Union achieve its target reductions and decarbonize its economy.
Therefore, it is important to celebrate the progress of the European Commission in presenting these legislative proposals and it is convenient to highlight the main proposals that seek to make the EU economy and climate, transport, energy, land use and tax policies help to meet the targets and reduction objectives proposed.
One of the most significant proposal of the European Commission is to assign in the Effort Sharing Regulation stronger emissions reduction targets to each Member State of the European Union mainly for agriculture, buildings, waste, road and domestic maritime transport and small industries.
Moreover, the European Commission propose to reinforce the Regulation on Land Use, Forestry and Agriculture and sets an overall target for carbon removals by natural sinks, equivalent to 310 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2030 in the European Union. Therefore, this objective will require that EU Member States adjust their national targets to preserve, grow and protect their carbon sink through the EU Forest Strategy. In this point, it is crucial the recognition of the importance of carbon removals for the achievement of climate neutrality.
Additionally, the Commission is proposing to modify the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) by including more sectors in this scheme such as the shipping emissions and aims also to lower the overall of the emissions cap from certain economic sectors every year. Additionally, the Commission propose the creation of a separate new emissions trading system for fuel distribution for road transport and buildings. This proposal definitely represents the enlargement of the European carbon market.
Furthermore, regarding the objectives of renewable energies use, the Renewable Energy Directive aims to set an increased target to produce 40% of the energy from renewable sources by 2030. Additionally, the European Commission plans to set an annual binding target more ambitious to reduce the EU energy use through the Energy Efficiency Directive.
On the other hand, a strong proposal to create a cleaner transportation in the European Union comprises tougher CO2 emissions standards for cars and vans by establishing an average emission of new cars to decrease by 55% from 2030 and 100% from 2035 compared to 2021 levels. Therefore, all new cars from 2035 will be zero-emission. It is undeniable that the approval of similar reduction targets will transform the transport industry in the next decade into a more environmental cleaner business.
Another important but debated proposal is the new Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism which intends to put a carbon price on imports of selected products to ensure that the targets of the European Union do not lead to a carbon leakage. Therefore, this proposal will encourage industries of countries outside Europe that export to this continent to be part of the solution by reducing the emissions of their production process. Despite the possible controversial debates that this proposal could generate, it is undeniable that all sectors in all countries need to start transforming their business with more environmental and sustainable solutions.
Regarding the tax policies presented by the European Commission, it is included a proposal to revise the Energy Taxation Directive with the objective of aligning the taxation of energy products with the EU climate and energy policies. Therefore, this Directive will encourage the clean technologies and will remove obsolete exemptions.
After analyzing all the previous proposals, it is possible to conclude that it is a reality that these important steps in terms of policies and regulations represent a clear evidence that reaffirms the Commission’s ambition to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Moreover, the European Parliament and the European Council have endorsed the long-term EU climate-neutrality objective that now will be legally binding through the first climate law of the European Union that is about to be signed by the parties in the following days.
All these robust advances signify a clear leadership of the European Union in making the strongest and quickest efforts tackling climate change. However, the need of achieving net-zero CO2 emissions at a global level by 2050 requires that all governments, industries, and citizens of the entire world assume this urgent commitment and design clearly the path to achieve the 160° degrees change that the planet earth requires.
Therefore, it is crucial and necessary that the rest of the world envisions these efforts and commit promptly with their targets, policies, and concrete actions to create a trustful pathway to limit world temperature increase to 1.5 °C.
By Andrea Moncayo Escobar, Regulatory & Legal.