EU Climate law: Laying down the path to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 

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  • gradual, well-funded and fair-to-farmers plan for carbon neutral Europe 
  • potential carbon crediting schemes to reward sustainable farming 
  • new EU trade policy properly aligned with its climate goals to avoid imported pollution 

The Agriculture Committee called on Monday for a 55% emission reduction target for 2030, a potential intermediary 2040 target and a proper EU funding to achieve them.

In an opinion for the lead Environment Committee, adopted in the Agriculture Committee by 35 votes in favour to eight against, with five abstentions, MEPs stressed that by 2050 both the European Union and each EU member state should achieve climate neutrality. To this end, the EU Commission should, by June 2021, review the Union’s 2030 target for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as compared to 1990 levels, and table a legislative proposal to increase it to 55%, the committee says. The EU’s executive originally proposed to set the new 2030 target for emissions cut in the range of 50%-55%.

The Commission should also come up with ways to finance the achievement of this new target, MEPs insist, and stress that all these proposals must be accompanied by an impact assessment study.

The Commission could propose an intermediary emission reduction target for 2040 too, if deemed necessary. The legislative proposal to this end, based on prior impact assessment, should then be submitted by the end of September 2028, MEPs say.

Setting out a gradual plan for carbon neutral Europe

An EU trajectory to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 should be outlined in a draft law, and not through Commission’s delegated acts, MEPs say. They want the EU’s executive to review this path to carbon neutral Europe within six months after each so-called global stocktake by the signatories of the Paris Agreement, which should be taking place every five years.

When drafting the trajectory, the Commission should pay attention to its potential impact on, among other things, farm profitability, and food security and its affordability, MEPs say. The plan towards climate neutrality should increase environmental effectiveness gradually, over time, and give extra support to farmers who take up sustainable agricultural practices, MEPs stress. It should promote sustainable bioeconomy, ensure fair transition also in rural and remote areas, and match its ambitious goals with proper EU funding, they add.

Developing carbon crediting schemes for farmers

MEPs want the EU to launch a debate on feasibility of setting up carbon crediting schemes, which could certify greenhouse gas removals through carbon sequestration. Separate trading and pricing of negative emissions credits in carbon markets could help member states in their efforts to achieve climate neutrality, MEPs say but insist that first, ways to measure and find accurate indicators for carbon sequestration in soils must be found.

Making EU trade policy more sustainable

The Agriculture Committee also insists on aligning the EU trade policy with the climate neutrality objective. To avoid importing pollution from abroad, the EU should make access to its market conditional on higher production standards of its trade partners in all sectors, with particular focus on agriculture, MEPs say.

Quote

"I am very happy and proud of the final result. The opinion is very ambitious and balanced, and we managed to reach a broad compromise. I would like to thank you all the shadow rapporteurs for their cooperation. Our proposals emphasize that agriculture will be an important part of the green transition", said Agriculture Committee rapporteur Asger Christensen (RE, DK).

Next steps

The non-binding opinion of the Agriculture Committee will now be forwarded to the lead Environment Committee. The vote in the Environment Committee is scheduled for 10-11 September.