Brussels (Brussels Morning) EU ministers of environmental protection meet later this week to discuss plans to make climate neutrality legally binding by 2050. A further session to elaborate on way and means of achieving this goal is slated for December, Reuters reports.
The bloc’s goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, while the EU Commission’s current goal is to cut the 1990 level of emissions by 55% by 2030. Under terms of the Paris Agreement, the EU has until the end of this year to set goals for 2030, with the approval of all 27 EU member states required for the goals adopted. The EC sees the transition to renewable energy sources as a key to driving economic recovery given the need to invest in new technologies.
At last week’s summit, EU member states agreed to discuss in greater detail the potential impact new targets would have on individual states before starting talks on goals for 2030, following demands by Poland, which is heavily reliant on coal. Some members, especially those that are coal dependent, want to spread the economic burden of the transition across the bloc.
On Friday, environmental ministers will try to agree on regulations making climate goals legally binding. Once this has been accomplished, they can start talks with the European Parliament, which must vote them into law. According to the draft, the 2050 target would allow some leeway, with ministers proposing zero emissions at the bloc level, rather than for each member state. While this approach would allow some member states to exceed the overall limit, in the event others agree to offset and compensate, it is at variance with the EP’s plan to make the 2050 target binding for each member state.
In addition, the EP wants to form an independent scientific advisory council and introduce a carbon budget to limit total EU emissions in the future. Neither of these proposals is currently covered in the ministerial draft.