EU Parliament Environment Committee votes to increase climate targets

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has voted to make climate neutrality mandatory in EU law by 2050, and to increase emissions reduction targets for 2030.

In a vote which took place on Friday (September 11), Environment Committee members voted 46 to 18 (with 17 abstentions) to adopt a report on EU climate law.

The committee’s report supports the EU’s climate law’s aim to make climate neutrality by 2050 a part of EU legislation, but also requests a more ambitious 2030 target of a 60% reduction in emissions compared to 1990, instead of “at least 50% towards 55%”, as the European Commission proposed.

The committee is also seeking an ‘interim target’ for 2040 to gauge the progress on climate neutrality by 2050.

The committee – which includes Irish members Grace O’Sullivan (Green Party) and Mick Wallace (independent) – is calling on the commission to propose – before May 31, 2023 – a ‘trajectory’ for reaching climate neutrality by 2050 through ordinary procedures.

On top of that, the committee is requesting that the commission assess and propose amendments to all relevant EU legislation that contributes to reducing emissions. It is also looking for the commission to issue a report every two years on the progress of members states on achieving climate targets; as well as the creation of an independent scientific body to monitor progress.

‘Sufficient funding’

As well as calling on members states to be climate neutral by 2050, the committee’s report also calls for member states to become ‘climate negative’ after 2050, meaning they must remove more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than they emit.

The report calls for sufficient financing from the EU and the member states individually to achieve this.

Other points encapsulated in the committee’s vote include: phasing out all fossil fuel subsidies by December 31, 2025; and a review process to ensure EU climate law remains aligned with limiting temperatures to a 1.5° increase, in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

The European Parliament as a whole will vote on its first reading during the October 5-8 plenary session. If that vote is successful, negotiations will start with member states.