Provisional agreement on EU Climate Law

21 April, 2021

By ECCT staff writers

The European Council and the European Parliament's negotiators have reached a provisional political agreement setting into law the objective of a climate-neutral EU by 2050, and a collective, net greenhouse gas emissions reduction target (emissions after deduction of removals) of at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990.

According to a press release on the EU’s official website, Europa, negotiators agreed on the need to give priority to emissions reductions over removals. In order to ensure that sufficient efforts to reduce and prevent emissions are deployed until 2030, they introduced a limit of 225 metric tonne (Mt) of CO2 equivalent to the contribution of removals to the net target. They also agreed the union shall aim to achieve a higher volume of carbon net sink by 2030.

Other elements of the provisional agreement include the establishment of a European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change, composed of 15 senior scientific experts of different nationalities with no more than two members holding the nationality of the same member state for a mandate of four years. This independent board will be tasked, among other things, with providing scientific advice and reporting on EU measures, climate targets and indicative greenhouse gas budgets and their coherence with the European climate law and the EU's international commitments under the Paris Agreement.

The negotiators agreed that the commission would propose an intermediate climate target for 2040, if appropriate, at the latest within six months after the first global stocktake carried out under the Paris Agreement. It will at the same time publish a projected indicative greenhouse gas budget for the period 2030-2050, together with its underlying methodology.

The budget is defined as the indicative total volume of net greenhouse gas emissions (expressed as CO2 equivalent and providing separate information on emissions and removals) that are expected to be emitted in that period without putting at risk the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Negotiators also agreed that the commission would engage with sectors of the economy that choose to prepare indicative voluntary roadmaps towards achieving the EU’s climate neutrality objective by 2050. The commission would monitor the development of such roadmaps, facilitate the dialogue at EU-level, and share best practices among relevant stakeholders.

The provisional agreement also sets an aspirational goal for the EU to strive to achieve negative emissions after 2050.

The provisional political agreement is subject to approval by the council and parliament, before going through the formal steps of the adoption procedure. The provisional agreement was reached by the council's Portuguese presidency and the European Parliament's representatives, based on mandates from their respective institutions.

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