BRUSSELS (AP) – Amid strong criticism from environmentalists, the European Commission on Wednesday unveiled plans for its first climate law, which will form the basis of the European Union’s goal of making the 27-country block climate-neutral for 2050.
With the Green Agreement, the EU’s executive branch wants to legislate to make irreversible its ambition to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero for half a century and mandatory for all member states.RELATED
“This climate law will establish Europe’s position as leader of the climate on the global stage,” said the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyden.
To set the 2050 target, the Commission proposes a mechanism to regularly raise the emission reduction target over the next three decades. However, there is no plan to increase the block’s total emissions target by 2030.
That particular point has been criticized by activists, who claim that delaying the 2030 target is detrimental to the bloc’s credibility in the fight against global warming.
The Commission said only that it would present a “responsible” plan for September on how to raise the current 2030 target of reducing greenhouse gases by 40% from 1990 levels to “at least 50% and down to 55%.”
Environmental group Greenpeace expressed concerns that EU governments “will find it extremely difficult to reach an agreement on a new target” before the next round of UN climate negotiations in September.
A dozen member states have also voiced their concerns and have asked the EC to present a target for 2030 “as soon as possible and as late as possible by June 2020, in order to move the discussions forward on time.”
Activist Greta Thunberg, who attended Wednesday’s climate discussions with EU commissioners, dismissed the proposal.
In an open letter, 34 young activists, including Thunberg, stressed that instead of setting long-term goals, the EU should focus on carbon emissions now if the world is to honor the commitments made five years ago at the climate summit in Paris.