Climate law must end polluting EU policies

Posted on 03 March 2020

Farming, energy and other areas must be consistent with climate targets
What’s happening?

The European Commission will publish a proposal for the EU’s first ever climate law on 4 March. This will contain the commitment to reach zero net emissions by 2050, as agreed by EU leaders in December 2019. It is the flagship policy of the European Green Deal. 

Why does it matter?

Putting the climate neutral goal into legislation sends a strong signal – both to other countries and to investors.  But we’re facing a climate emergency, so it’s what happens today, and in every area, that matters. The climate law must make policies in other areas compatible with the EU’s climate targets. It must ensure rapid emissions cuts delivered in a socially just and fair manner, so the EU makes real progress on the path to climate neutrality.

Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF European Policy Office said:

“Getting climate neutral in the long term is important. But it’s action today that’s essential to give us a chance of limiting dangerous warming. The law must end the harmful contradictions in EU policy, whereby emissions targets sit alongside billions spent on gas pipelines and unsustainable levels of animal farming. We cannot keep kicking the can down the road on climate action; there is little road left. This law is Europe’s opportunity to rise to the challenge.”

What does WWF want?

The EU climate law must:
  • Set the climate neutrality goal into law. In WWF’s view, the EU must be at net-zero emissions by 2040 to play its part in tackling the climate emergency.
  • Cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 65% by 2030in line with science. And review these targets every five years, starting in 2021. It should also contain a separate target for removing CO2 from the atmosphere by restoring forests and other ecosystems.
  • Scrap or change any EU policies that aren’t consistent with the EU’s climate targets.
  • Ban all subsidies, tax breaks, advertising and other benefits for fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.
  • Set up an independent scientific body to scrutinise the EU’s plans for tackling the climate emergency and make sure they add up.
See WWF and Greenpeace's 12 asks for the EU climate law.

More information:

Recent reporting on the draft climate law suggests the Commission will propose a five-yearly review mechanism from 2030 onwards. In WWF’s view, while such a mechanism is welcome, starting it only in 2030 is far too late. Higher emissions cuts and targets are needed now. We already know that to be in line with science and avoid the worst of the climate catastrophe, the EU’s 2030 target needs to be at 65% emissions reductions. 

Watch the climate law press briefing of 2 March, organised by WWF, Greenpeace and Climate Action Network Europe.

Imke Lübbeke
Head of Climate and Energy
WWF European Policy Office 
+ 32 2 743 88 18

Sarah Azau, 
Media Manager 
WWF European Policy Office
+32 473 573 137
Bullocks (Bos taurus) on natural grazing grounds.
© © Ola Jennersten / WWF-Sweden