The European Commission have today unveiled a hugely ambitious plan on climate change aimed at ensuring the EU meets its goal of reducing average greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent in 2030, and reaching net zero by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.
The “Fit for 55” initiative, contains policy proposals under 13 headings, including a tax on imports, renewable energy targets, tighter restrictions on industry emissions, and plans to phase out the internal combustion engine. The legislative proposals presented are designed to reduce reliance on fossil fuels including coal, oil and natural gas; to expand the use of renewable-energy sources including solar, wind and hydro power to at least 38.5 percent of all energy by 2030; to force the acceleration of electric car sales with much tighter CO2 limits and hope to halt the sale of all internal-combustion cars by 2035; and to support cleaner energy options for the logistics sector, which are prime polluters. For the first time, a carbon market will be established for road transportation and buildings.
Energy production and use accounts for 75% of EU emissions, so accelerating the transition to a greener energy system is crucial, the Commission said. All Member States will contribute to this goal, and specific targets are proposed for renewable energy use in transport, heating and cooling, buildings and industry.
Achieving these emission reductions in the next decade is crucial to Europe becoming the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and making the European Green Deal a reality, the Commission said With these new proposals, the Commission is presenting the legislative tools to deliver on the targets agreed in the European Climate Law and fundamentally transform the EU economy and society for a fair, green and prosperous future.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen noted: "The fossil fuel economy has reached its limits. We want to leave the next generation a healthy planet as well as good jobs and growth that does not hurt our nature. "The European Green Deal is our growth strategy that is moving towards a decarbonised economy. "Europe was the first continent to declare to be climate neutral in 2050, and now we are the very first ones to put a concrete roadmap on the table. "Europe walks the talk on climate policies through innovation, investment and social compensation."
The proposals will also enable the necessary acceleration of greenhouse gas emission reductions in the next decade, the Commission said. This will be through the application of emissions trading to new sectors and a tightening of the existing EU Emissions Trading System.
There will also be greater energy efficiency; a faster roll-out of low emission transport modes and the infrastructure and fuels to support them. In addition, the plans include an alignment of taxation policies with the European Green Deal objectives; measures to prevent carbon leakage; and tools to preserve and grow our natural carbon sinks. Furthermore, Member States should spend the entirety of their emissions trading revenues on climate and energy-related projects. In addition, carbon pricing instruments raise revenues that can be reinvested to spur innovation, economic growth, and investments in clean technologies.
A new Social Climate Fund is proposed to provide dedicated funding to Member States to help citizens finance investments in energy efficiency, new heating and cooling systems, and cleaner mobility. The Social Climate Fund would be financed by the EU budget, using an amount equivalent to 25% of the expected revenues of emissions trading for building and road transport fuels. It will provide €72.2bn of funding to Member States, for the period 2025-2032, based on a targeted amendment to the multiannual financial framework. With a proposal to draw on matching Member State funding, the Fund would mobilise €144.4bn for a socially fair transition.