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Lawyers call for greater ambition in European Climate Law

ClientEarth and other environmental organisations are calling on Members of the European Parliament to support ambitious measures in new EU climate laws, including an emission reduction target of 65 per cent.

Tomorrow, 10 September 2020, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee will vote on the EU Climate Law, a flagship proposal under the EU’s Green Deal. This will write into law Europe’s objective to become climate neutral by 2050 and establish the trajectory and mechanisms needed to achieve it.

An important milestone to reaching climate neutrality by 2050 is the EU’s 2030 target. The European Commission has proposed one of two new options for the new EU target – a 50% or a 55% reduction in emissions by 2030, against 1990 levels.

However, lawmakers drafting the European Parliament position are eyeing an even more ambitious 60% or 65% emissions cut by 2030, which would be more in line with what is scientifically required to comply with the Paris Agreement.

The Climate Law is intended to ensure that the EU and its Member States effectively work towards the target in all sectors and to establish real accountability where they fail.

Environmental Democracy lawyer Sebastian Bechtel said:

“The Climate Law will be of central importance to deliver on the EU’s commitment of the Paris Agreement and to prevent the most catastrophic consequences of climate change. This Committee vote will show whether MEPs are truly committed to set the EU on the right trajectory towards these goals.”

Ahead of the vote, ClientEarth and its partner organisations have written to Members of the European Parliament, urging them to support ambitious amendments to the Climate Law Proposal.

The letter urges MEPs to support:

  • A 2030 emissions reduction target of at least 65%, without including offsetting by carbon sinks in the land use sector;
  • A climate-neutrality target that is binding on each individual Member State, not just the EU as a whole;
  • A small and effective independent scientific panel to advise on EU targets and the Commission’s plans and policies for meeting them;
  • A requirement that the Commission publish an EU roadmap for meeting climate targets, including emissions reductions in all sectors, and update it every five years;
  • A commitment to review all existing and proposed EU measures and policies to ensure they are consistent with climate targets;
  • Access to justice to ensure accountability and compliance in practice.
  • Restrictions on the ability of fossil fuel interests to influence EU policies; and
  • Provisions to make financial flows consistent with EU climate goals.
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