Making the European Green Deal a reality: EC Proposes Transformation of the EU Economy and Society to Meet Climate Ambitions

On July 14, 2021, the European Commission adopted a package of proposals to make the EU’s climate, energy, land use, transport, and taxation policies fit for a 55% reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, as compared to 1990 levels. Achieving such a significant reduction of emissions in the next decade is crucial in light of Europe’s ambition to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

 

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With the adopted set of proposals, the Commission presented the legislative tools to deliver on the targets agreed in the European Climate Law that aims to fundamentally transform Europe’s economy and society for a fair, green, and prosperous future.

These comprehensive proposals are interconnected and complementary and combine:

  • An application of emissions trading to new sectors and a tightening of the existing EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).
  • An increased use of renewable energy.
  • Greater energy efficiency.
  • Faster rollouts of low emission transport modes along with the infrastructure and fuels to support them.
  • An alignment of taxation policies with the European Green Deal objectives.
  • Measures to prevent carbon leakage.
  • Tools to preserve and grow Europe’s natural carbon sinks.

Background

The European Green Deal, presented by the Commission on December 11, 2019, sets the goal of making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. The European Climate Law, which enters into force in July 2021, enshrines in binding legislation the EU’s commitment to climate neutrality and the intermediate target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

As a result of the EU’s existing climate and energy legislation, the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions have already fallen by 24% compared to 1990. This tested and proven legislative framework forms the basis of the current package of legislation.

Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said, “This is the make-or-break decade in the fight against the climate and biodiversity crises. The European Union has set ambitious targets, and today we present how we can meet them. Getting to a green and healthy future for all will require considerable effort in every sector and every Member State. Together, our proposals will spur the necessary changes, enable all citizens to experience the benefits of climate action as soon as possible, and provide support to the most vulnerable households. Europe’s transition will be fair, green, and competitive.”