net zero

The European Parliament voted to increase the 2030 GHG reduction target at EU level from 30% to 40%

By Sustainability Lens, with quotes from the press release published by the European Parliament – 15/03/2023

Through yesterday’s press release, the European Parliament announced it adopted with a majority of votes the revision of the so-called Effort Sharing Regulation. This will set binding annual reductions for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for road transport, heating of buildings, agriculture, small industrial installations, and waste management for each EU member state and currently regulates roughly 60% of all EU emissions.

With this initiative, the EU is taking a new step in achieving climate neutrality by 2050. But how feasible is this goal anymore? How many chances do we still have to reach the purposes of the Paris agreement, to limit global warming to 1.50 C or 2.00 C? The answer clearly is not a simple one.

The press release mentions that „The revised law increases the 2030 GHG reduction target at EU level from 30% to 40% compared to 2005-levels. For the first time, all EU countries must now reduce GHG emissions with targets ranging between 10 and 50%. The 2030 targets for each member state are based on GDP per capita and cost-effectiveness. Member states will also have to ensure every year that they do not exceed their annual GHG emission allocation.”

More and more voices in the scientific environment draw attention to the climate emergency we are in and it is imperative to emphasize and speed up the implementation of the necessary actions to reduce emissions.

For example, a professor from the Australian National University, Mr. Will Steffen stated for the publication Voice of Action that humanity will need approx. 40-60 years to reach Net-Zero and this goal is in jeopardy due to the activation of 9 of the 15 known climate tipping points that regulate the state of the planet. A climate tipping point is a critical threshold that, when exceeded, leads to large and often irreversible changes to the global climate system. Examples of climate tipping points are West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, the Amazon rainforest, and warm-water coral reefs. The danger is that if the tipping point in one system is crossed, this could influence other tipping points, leading to unknown impacts which could have the potential to be catastrophic.

Therefore, this initiative of the European Parliament represents an important step that could stimulate significant progress in reducing emissions, given that economic sectors that contribute massively to global greenhouse gas emissions are targeted. However, the social effects of these laws should not be neglected, which will cause cascading effects on the population and on small companies.

It should also be noted the connection between this decision and another EC proposal on a new regulation for the emissions trading for buildings and road transport, through which the EC will provide the necessary incentive to reduce the direct consumption of fossil fuels.

“With this law, we take a major step forward in delivering on the EU’s climate goals. The new rules for national emission cuts ensure that all member states contribute and that existing loopholes are closed. This allows us to send a clear signal that the EU is serious about being the global champion for a competitive and efficient climate agenda.”

stated Jessica Polfjärd (EPP, SV) in connection with the initiative for the revision of the Effort Sharing Regulation.

In the following period the document will have to be approved by the Council and afterward be published in the EU Official Journal.

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