Landmark Climate Gets European Parliament’s Green Light

The European Parliament on Thursday approved a landmark law to make the Bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions targets legally binding, and paving the way for a policy overhaul to cut planet-warming pollution faster.

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The European Parliament on Thursday approved a landmark law to make the Bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions targets legally binding, and paving the way for a policy overhaul to cut planet-warming pollution faster.

Swedish Social Democrat Jytte Guteland, Parliament’s lead lawmaker on the bill said, “Today is a historic day”. Unless we rapidly cut our emissions, the science is crystal clear. The future will be catastrophic.”

Negotiators from Parliament and the EU’s 27 member countries reached a deal in April on the climate law, which puts tougher emissions-cutting targets at the heart of EU policymaking.

The bill also sets targets to reduce net EU emissions by 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels, and eliminate net emissions by 2050.

Parliament formally approved the law with 442 votes in favour, 203 against and 51 abstentions. Some Green lawmakers abstained, after seeking a more ambitious 60% emission cut by 2030. Lawmakers from groups including the right-wing Identity and Democracy rejected it.

Frans Timmermans, head of EU climate policy, said this is the law of laws, because it will discipline us in the years to come since the climate law will guide EU regulations in the coming decades.

First up is a sweeping package of policies, which the European Commission will propose on July 14, designed to cut emissions faster to meet the climate targets. It will include more ambitious renewable energy targets, EU carbon market reforms and tighter CO2 standards for new cars.

Most EU laws are designed to meet the bloc’s previous target to cut emissions 40% by 2030, and need updgrading to meet the new aims. EU emissions in 2019 were 24% lower than in 1990.

The new targets are designed to put the EU on a pathway that, if followed globally, would limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degree Celsius.

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