Environment Council in Luxembourg: Important milestone for a European climate law

Met dank overgenomen van Duits voorzitterschap Europese Unie 2e helft 2020 (Duits Voorzitterschap) i, gepubliceerd op zaterdag 24 oktober 2020.

Today, the Council reached agreement on a partial general approach on the proposed European climate law. The aim of the proposal is to set in legislation the objective of a climate-neutral EU by 2050, which was endorsed by the European Council in December 2019.

Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety:

The EU is firmly committed to becoming climate neutral by 2050. While the European Council has announced that it will return to the greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2030 at its December meeting with a view to agreeing on a new target, I am pleased to announce that today we were able to reach agreement among member states on large parts of the European climate law proposal. It is important that we make as much progress as possible on this key piece of legislation. Last week, the European Council invited the Council to take work on this agenda forward, and today, after an intense discussion, we were able to reach an important milestone as regards the proposal for a European climate law.

In its position, the Council stresses the importance of promoting both fairness and solidarity among member states and cost-effectiveness in achieving the climate neutrality objective.

The Council's position is partial because it does not yet specify an updated 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target, given that further work is needed to reach agreement among member states in this regard. Agreeing a partial Council position is an opportunity to consolidate the progress achieved during months of intense negotiations among member states - discussions at expert level started in March 2020 - and can help the Council to finalise its (full) general approach once agreement on the outstanding issues has been reached.

The Council has amended the part of the original proposal which would have allowed the Commission to adopt, by means of delegated acts, a trajectory for achieving climate neutrality. Instead, the Council asks the Commission to propose an intermediate target for 2040 after the first global stocktake of the Paris Agreement. The Council retains the concept of an indicative, linear trajectory but only as a tool to help the Commission in assessing progress.

In order to ensure that in the years to come the EU will remain on track to achieve its climate-neutrality objective, the Council tasks the Commission with reporting on the operation of the European climate law within six months after each global stocktake under the Paris Agreement. Where appropriate, the Commission may make proposals to amend the European climate law.