The European Commission has proposed a European Climate Law in an attempt to ensure climate neutrality by 2050.
The legally binding target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions would mean that EU institutions and Member States are ‘collectively bound’ to take the necessary measures at EU and national level to meet the target.
“The Climate law is the legal translation of our political commitment, and sets us irreversibly on the path to a more sustainable future,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
“It is the heart of the European Green Deal. It offers predictability and transparency for European industry and investors. And it gives direction to our green growth strategy and guarantees that the transition will be gradual and fair.”
The proposal includes measures to keep track of progress and adjust actions accordingly. It also addresses the pathway to get to the 2050 target:
Based on a comprehensive impact assessment, the Commission will propose a new 2030 EU target for greenhouse gas emission reductions. The Climate Law will be amended once the impact assessment is completed.
By June 2021, the Commission will review, and where necessary propose to revise, all relevant policy instruments to achieve the additional emission reductions for 2030.
The Commission proposes the setting of a 2030-2050 EU-wide trajectory for greenhouse gas emission reductions, to measure progress and give predictability to public authorities, businesses and citizens.
By September 2023, and every five years thereafter, the Commission will assess the consistency of EU and national measures with the climate-neutrality objective and the 2030-2050 trajectory.
The Commission will be empowered to issue recommendations to Member States whose actions are inconsistent with the climate-neutrality objective, and Member States will be obliged to take due account of these recommendations or to explain their reasoning if they fail to do so. The Commission can also review the adequacy of the trajectory and the Union wide measures.
Member States will also be required to develop and implement adaptation strategies to strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to the effects of climate change.