MEPs vote in favour of 60% emissions cut

MEPs have voted in favour of a 60% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target by 2030.

The issue has caused divisions in the European Parliament as the commission proposed a 55% cut while the Greens wanted 65%.

In the end, 352 MEPs voted in favour of the 60% figure while 326 voted against.

Green Party MEP for Dublin Ciarán Cuffe says overall, it’s a good result: “The result of this is that it puts pressure on the European Commission to really take climate action seriously, and I think they will.

“I think it will ‘beef up’ the European Green Deal and I think it’s a good result for Europe; it’s a good result for climate.”

Background

Following the European Council decision in 2019 to endorse the 2050 climate-neutrality objective, the commission in March 2020 proposed the EU climate law that would make it a legal requirement for the EU to become climate-neutral by 2050.

On September 17, the commission amended the proposal to incorporate a new 2030 emissions reduction target.

The European People’s Party (EPP), which has a number of Irish MEPs as members, had rejected the 60% cut and supported the commission’s plan for a 55% net reduction compared to 1990 levels.

Last week, Ireland’s European Commissioner-designate Mairead McGuinness said the Covid-19 pandemic can’t be used as an “excuse to delay addressing the challenges of climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss”.

Speaking at a hearing before a European Parliament committee in Brussels last Friday (October 2), McGuinness cited the EU’s Green Deal and sustainable finance as key priorities should she win approval for the EU job.