Most parliamentarians and EU states agreed on Wednesday to adopt the target of a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by “at least 55%” by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, the European Commission and parliamentarians announced.
That target has been the subject of tough negotiations between the leaders of the Twenty-Seven, who agreed in November on a 55% cut, and the European Parliament, which wanted a cut of “at least 60%”.
This agreement on an EU target, which will be formally included in a “climate law” in preparation, will take place on the eve of a climate summit initiated by US President Joe Biden, at which Washington must precisely announce its own revised target for 2030.
“This is a historic moment for the EU (…). The agreement strengthens our position in the world as a leader in the fight against the climate crisis”, welcomed Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Green Pact Commission, quoted in a press release .
For his part, Portuguese Environment Minister Joao Pedro Matos Fernandes, whose country holds the rotating EU Presidency, welcomed “a strong signal to the whole world” and a goal that is “now set in stone”.
The talks between states and MPs, which had been stalled for months, resumed early Tuesday afternoon and negotiations continued until after 5 a.m. or fourteen hours.
“Parliament was obviously ready to go further, but the compromise found is ambitious: in nine years we will do two and a half times more than in the last ten years in Europe,” remarked MEP Pascal Canfin (Renew, Liberal). Chairman of the Environment Committee in the European Parliament.
From now on, “the goal of CO2 neutrality for 2050 will be legally binding,” added the German MEP Peter Liese (EPP, EU law) in a tweet.
On the other hand, he regretted, this goal of carbon neutrality will apply jointly to all twenty-seven, but will not be imposed on each state individually, contrary to what Parliament wanted. Poland, on the other hand, which was still heavily dependent on coal, was strongly against it.
A “net” drop
In the agreement reached, the goal is a “net” reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, ie the compensation of CO2 emissions through natural “carbon sinks”, for example through reforestation.
“It is the recognition of the need to improve + the + carbon sinks + of the EU,” emphasizes the Commission through better regulation of the use of land and forest areas.
The total emission reduction could even “reach almost 57% compared to 1990”, calculates Pascal Canfin.
For their part, environmental NGOs and Green MEPs strongly condemn a “net” target that specifically takes account of CO2 bound by forests – at the risk of automatically reducing the reduction actually required by polluting sectors.
“The climate law does not live up to its ambitions. In reality it is only a 52.8% reduction, it is not the ‘Green Pact’ we need (…) and this is insufficient agreement with regard to Paris” , cracked on Twitter Michael Bloss, German Green MEP.