Climate law sets direction but lacks urgency

Posted on March, 04 2020

We need a climate GPS system, but this proposal is only a compass
The EU’s proposed climate law puts Europe on an essential course to net zero emissions, by setting it as a target for 2050 at the latest. However the proposal falls far short of what the climate emergency requires. It fails to include measures that would reduce emissions drastically now.

Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF European Policy Office said:
“We need a climate GPS system, but this proposal is only a compass pointing us in the general direction of climate neutrality. It needs to drive massive emissions reductions starting today. This can be done by increasing the 2030 target to 65% emissions cuts, bringing EU policies in line with our climate targets now, and creating an independent scientific body to advise on our climate action. Environment ministers tomorrow must speak up.”

The climate law proposal contains a five-yearly review of the EU and Member States’ progress towards climate neutrality starting in 2023, and gives the European Commission powers to set an emissions trajectory the EU should follow beyond 2030. 

Crucial elements that should be included to tackle the climate emergency are:
  • A target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 65% by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2040, in line with science. The law should also contain a separate target for removing CO2 from the atmosphere by restoring forests and other ecosystems - something on which it is completely silent.
  • A ban on all subsidies, tax breaks, advertising and other benefits for fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.
  • Changes to make EU policies in other areas - for example on gas infrastructure, farm subsidies or bioenergy - consistent with climate goals. The law requires the Commission to assess this issue but only for the period after 2030
  • A commitment to set up an independent scientific body to scrutinise the EU’s targets and its plans and policies to tackle the climate emergency.
The European Commission will present the proposal to EU environment ministers tomorrow. The proposal will then be discussed and modifications suggested by Member States and in the European Parliament.

More information: Contact:
Alex Mason
Senior Policy Officer
WWF European Policy Office  
+32 494 762 763

Sarah Azau
Media Manager 
WWF European Policy Office
+32 473 573 137