European Climate Law published
09 July 2021
2030 is an important milestone in the path to net zero. Under the Paris Agreement, countries around the world have committed to limiting average global warming to well below 2 degrees, and preferably to 1.5 degrees, relative to pre-industrial levels. Plans to achieve this goal typically focus on a 2050 deadline, but a report published by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) in 2018 found that, unless emissions start to decline well before 2030, the 1.5 degree target would be in jeopardy without reliance on unproven large-scale carbon dioxide removal techniques.
The EU had already committed to a 40% cut in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction from 1990 levels by 2030. However, under the European Green Deal, it committed to an even more ambitious 2030 target of 55%. This new target is now enshrined in the European Climate Law (in the form of a regulation) which hit the statute books today.
In addition to the 55% 2030 target, the new Law:
- Commits the Union to climate neutrality by 2050, with negative emissions (also known as “carbon negative”) after that date, as well as the adoption of a 2040 climate target.
- Requires the Commission to adopt an EU strategy to climate change adaptation, which are the actions needed to adjust to current or expected future changes in climate as a result of GHGs already in the atmosphere.
- Commits to the development of Commission guidelines on common principles and practices for identifying, classifying and managing material physical risk in projects and programmes for projects by 30 July 2022.
- Allows for the development of voluntary indicative sector roadmaps. The Commission will monitor these and facilitate sharing of best practice (not dissimilar to the UK FCA-PRA Climate Financial Risk Forum workstreams).
- Establishes 5-yearly reviews of progress, aligned to global stocktakes under the Paris Agreement.
The 40% target was implemented via the EU Emissions Trading System, the Effort Sharing Regulation and the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry Regulation. The Commission will implement the 55% target through a broader package of amended regulation and new measures, known as the Fit for 55 package, which is expected to be published on 14 July.