Members of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI Committee) Monday approved a sweeping climate change law which aims to achieve climate neutrality in the European Union (EU). The 81-member committee adopted the law in a 52 to 24 vote after reaching a preliminary agreement with the European Council on April 20.
The new law would set a binding goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, also called climate neutrality, by 2050. The European Council describes a climate neutral EU as “a climate-resilient society that is fully adapted to the unavoidable impacts of climate change…”
To reach this goal, the EU will reduce net emissions by 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2030; the previous reduction target was 40 percent. Because the EU’s priority will be avoiding new greenhouse gas emissions, the removal of only 225 Mt CO2 equivalents of existing greenhouse gases may count towards the net reductions goal.
The law would also create the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change, an “independent scientific body” meant to “assess whether policy is consistent and to monitor progress.” The board would be made up of 15 experts serving four-year terms.
The law must still pass through several steps before it can go into effect. The European Council and a plenary session of the European Parliament must both formally approve the legislation. The ENVI Committee expects the parliament to approve the law during its late June plenary session.