On Wednesday, negotiators from the EU Council and Parliament reached a tentative political agreement, setting the bar for greenhouse gas emission targets by 2050. Following the adoption of a general strategy in December, the Council and Parliament convened a series of meetings this week in order to reach an agreement on the final document.
The agreement codifies the current goal of a climate-neutral EU by or before 2050, with a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990. The negotiators decided that carbon reductions should take precedence over removals. They also decided that the EU should strive for a higher carbon net sink volume by 2030.
A new Climate Change Advisory Board, made up of 15 senior scientific experts from various countries, will be tasked with providing advice and reports on EU measures, climate targets, and indicative greenhouse gas budgets, as well as ensuring that member states follow European climate laws and their Paris Agreement commitments. The budget will be determined by the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions expected between 2030 and 2050. The EU should aim for zero emissions after 2050, according to the provisional agreement.
Furthermore, at least six months after the first global stocktake under section 14 of the Paris Agreement, the Commission must set an intermediate climate target for 2040. Joo Pedro Matos Fernandes, the Portuguese Minister of Environment and Climate Action, referred to the agreement as “the rule of laws” and stated the EU’s firm commitment to achieving climate-neutral status by 2050. Given the Leaders’ Climate Summit on Thursday, he hopes that this would set a precedent for the rest of the world. It is also expected to pave the way for the Commission’s “fit-for-55” plan.