MEPs confirm deal on climate neutrality by 2050

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Oil shale production in Auvere, Ida-Viru County.

The European Parliament has endorsed the Climate Law, transforming the European Green Deal for a political commitment to climate neutrality by 2050, to a legally binding obligation.

After initial opposition, the Estonian government signed up to the deal in autumn 2019. Climate neutrality and the measures needed to implement it will affect Estonia's easternmost county, Ida-Viru, the most, since it is home to much of the oil shale mining, refining and electricity generation, a sector which will need transforming to meet climate goals.

European Parliament rapporteur Jytte Guteland said that they were: "Proud that we finally have a climate law."

"We confirmed a net emissions reductions target of at least 55 percent, closer to 57 percent by 2030 according to our agreement with the Commission. I would have preferred to go even further, but this is a good deal based on science that will make a big difference," Guteland went on, according to BNS.

"The EU must now reduce emissions more in the next decade than it has in the previous three decades combined, and we have new and more ambitious targets that can inspire more countries to step up," Guteland added.

The deal, which passed 442 votes in favor to 203 against, and 51 abstentions, is expected to be approved by the Council shortly, BNS reports.

The next step is publication in the EU's Official Journal, after which it will enter into force 20 days later.

The commission also says it plfans to present a series of proposals on July 14, 2021 in order for the EU to be able to reach the more ambitious 2030 target for climate neutrality.

The European Parliament has played an important role in pushing for more ambitious EU climate legislation, and declaring a climate emergency on November 28, 2019.

Estonia's own European Commissioner, Kadri Simson (Center) holds the portfolio for energy.

Climate deal in short:

  • After 2050, the EU will aim for negative emissions.
  • Increases the EU's target for reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 from 40 percent to at least 55 percent, compared with 1990 levels.
  • Further planned regulations will increase EU carbon sinks, in so doing boosting the 2030 EU's target to 57 percent.
  • Gives European citizens and businesses the legal certainty and predictability they need in planning for the transition, the EU says.
  • A European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change to be be set-up to monitor progress and to assess whether European policy is consistent with these objectives.
  • 2040 target to be forthcoming in 2023 In line with Parliament's proposal, the Commission will publish the maximum amount of GHG emissions estimated the EU can emit until 2050 without endangering the EU's commitments under the agreement. This so-called "GHG budget" will be one of the criteria to define the EU's revised 2040 target, BNS reports.
  • By September 30, 2023, and every five years thereafter, commission will assess the collective progress made by all EU states, as well as the consistency of national measures, towards the EU's goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050.

Estonia has seven MEPs.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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