The European Parliament approved in the plenary session the EU Climate Law, which sets out the Union’s final commitment to becoming a climate neutral continent by 2050.
Less than a month after the speech on the State of the Union by the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, the European Parliament approved the negotiating mandate with 392 votes in favour, 161 against and 142 abstentions. Following the Commission’s proposal, the Parliament went further, setting an even more ambitious target for the achievement of the 2050 target. The cut in emissions, set at 55% for 2030, has now been extended to 60%. In addition, there is a further post-2050 target, which provides for the introduction of a “negative emissions” regime for the whole Union.
In addition to the Commission’s proposal, MEPs called for the introduction of an intermediate target for 2040, accompanied by a further impact assessment on the whole economic and social system. The aim is to ensure that climate neutrality is not achieved at the expense of the welfare of European citizens and economies.
Another point of fundamental importance concerns the request made by Members of the European Parliament to Member States regarding the phasing out of direct and indirect subsidies to fossil fuels by 31 December 2025, while stressing the need to identify new tools and funds to manage energy poverty. This aspect is one of the most sensitive, especially if considering the heterogeneity of the energy stock that characterises the European scenario.
“We are making sure that everyone contributes […] respecting the just transition” said Jytte Gutteland, Swedish MEP from the Socialists and Democrats Group. To make this happen, the Parliament intends to introduce a greenhouse gas balance sheet, as well as the establishment of a European Climate Change Council to act as an independent scientific body whose mandate will mainly involve identifying progress, challenges and further solutions to make this ambition a reality.
The next step is a proposal by the Commission, through the ordinary legislative procedure, to present a concrete work programme on how to achieve neutrality by 2050, in accordance with the Paris Agreement and the other EU international commitments. The deadline is 31 May 2023. In the meantime, the other institutions are preparing to start up the negotiation phase, with the Council then having to work on identifying a common position, following which Parliament will begin negotiations with the Member States.