The climate law must establish a strong definition of climate neutrality. This definition needs to build on scientific evidence, which underlines the limited remaining carbon budget to stay within the planetary boundaries and thus achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement. Building on these necessities, the law should aim at avoiding emissions rather than on their removal (and use and/or storage) at a later stage. Implementing policies for achieving these objectives requires the removal of remaining barriers for increased energy efficiency and accelerated deployment of renewable energy across all end-use sectors. This will trigger the most cost-efficient pathway towards decarbonisation, and it will help avoid trillions of Euros of stranded investment, which would be inevitable, if investment in fossil resources were not quickly reduced and finally phased out.
The law must respect the subsidiarity principle as well as the MS’ right to choose their own energy mix. It must strike the balance between mandatory target achievement and flexibility for MS in choosing their preferred mix of renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy savings. The law should preferably require avoiding emissions instead of removing them at a later stage. Ruling out support for any fossil-fuel-based technologies should be included in the law.
The law should establish the objective of climate neutrality by 2050 the very latest to be achieved by the EU as a whole with fair and mandatory contributions from each MS. To be effective, the law must encompass the ultimate objective of climate neutrality as well as a linear trajectory with binding milestones for 2030, 2040, 2050. Shorter intervals of 5 years should be considered. The milestone for 2030 should be at least 55% GHG reduction (considering proposals of 65% as desirable). In 2040, at least 75-80% should be achieved. Trajectory and milestones should be monitored on a regular basis with the option of increasing ambition. Where lack of ambition or lack of enabling frameworks or inconsistencies with other legislation (e.g. environment, biodiversity) are found, additional measures need to be required.
The law should encourage MS to cooperate – on national and subnational level – for target achievement. But it should nevertheless establish clear national responsibilities. Building on existing legislation (e.g. Renewable Energy Directive, Energy Efficiency Directive, Governance Regulation), greenhouse gas reduction trajectories, milestones and targets should be underpinned by appropriate sectorial trajectories, milestones and targets for the share of renewable energy and for energy efficiency increase, on EU level and for each MS. Following the Governance Regulation (with some necessary amendments) MS should be required to present and regularly update National Climate and Energy Plans (NECPs). Once established and accepted by the EC, the full implementation of these NECPs – which should be closely linked to the NDCs submitted under the Paris Agreement – should become mandatory and subject to infringement procedures and penalties.
As foreseen by the EC, the climate law should be a first step towards a European Green Deal encompassing all sectors and achieving climate neutrality well before 2050. To drive ambitious and effective decarbonisation of Europe’s economy, existing legislation on energy taxation, emissions trading, renewable energy, energy efficiency, building standards, fuel quality, sustainable mobility, and just transition will have to be adjusted within the next three years.
BEE Feedback on „European climate law – achieving climate neutrality by 2050“
on „European climate law – achieving climate neutrality by 2050“ by the European Commission
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