Targeting Net-Zero Emissions: EU Pushes for Strict Climate Rules

Written by | Thursday, November 22nd, 2018

Ten EU member states are pushing the European Commission to draft a “credible and detailed” plan to achieve net-zero emissions in 2050. The task comes ahead of the launch of the EU’s climate strategy. Energy and environment ministers from the ten countries – Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden – have sent a letter to EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete asking for a “clear direction”.


In the letter, the leaders “encourage the Commission to set a clear direction towards net zero GHG emissions in the EU by 2050” and insist that the strategies should be presented in a “credible and detailed way”. Mr. Canete’s team would like to keep the net-zero option in the strategy despite the opposition of some member states such as Poland. Warsaw is concerned that this pathway could have a negative impact on COP24 UN climate summit taking place in December in Katowice.


According to the newest EU regulations on energy, the EU executive has to present the climate strategy by the end of this year to demonstrate that the bloc will be able to meet the goals set by the Paris Agreement. On 28 November 2018, the Commission is to launch its vision for 2050, which will include eight propositions on how to get the bloc’s economy on the trajectory consistent with the Paris climate deal. EU member states will then choose one that will become the go-to strategy.


The EU’s fresh laws on energy, efficiency and renewable mean that Europe will “de facto” reach 45% without further legal changes, although some experts say this won’t be enough to lower the target of 2 degrees warming. All signatories of the Paris deal will have to finalize their “business” plans to decrease emissions by 2020, while the strategy for the period between 2030 and 2050 is still unchartered territory.

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