The Parliament's debating chamber Photo: Diliff

European Parliament Committee votes to significantly increase climate targets

10 September 2020 

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has voted in favour of significantly increasing the bloc’s 2030 climate target. 

The members of the committee endorsed a 60 per cent emission reduction by 2030 for the European Climate Law, up substantially from the current goal of 40 per cent. 

However, in order to keep global temperatures in line with the 1.5 C warming goal of the Paris Agreement, emissions would need to be reduced by at least 65 per cent. 

This was the figure initially proposed by Jytte Guteland in April, an MEP from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, who argued that climate targets must be “in line with what scientists said is necessary”. 

The 65 per cent target is also aligned with the equity principles within the Paris Agreement that are based on how much warming a state has already produced as a result of fossil-fuelled industrialisation. 

“And there is no justifiable reason for this not to apply to the EU”, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said. 

The bloc must adopt a new target for the decade by year’s end, which will be on the table for the Heads of State and Government to discuss and agree to at next month’s European Council meetings. 

Though the target is below what is required by the Paris Agreement, the 60 per cent figure “clearly represents a step forward and punts the ball to the European Commission which is expected to publish their 2030 climate target proposal in September”, CAN Europe Director Wendel Trio said in reaction to the vote. 

The chair of the Environment Committee Pascal Canfin met with Greta Thunberg and other climate activists last night prior to the vote. 

“We’ll tell him to vote in line with the Paris Agreement and the current best available science”, Thunberg said.

The vote, according to Tara Connolly of Friends of the Earth Europe, “is an important first step in the right direction and the first sign that European politicians are starting to take the climate crisis seriously”. 

But, the figure “still falls short of the level of emission cuts needed to avoid dangerous temperature rise and deliver the EU’s fair share of climate action”. 

“The ball is now firmly in the court of the European Commission and European governments to back the level of climate action the world desperately needs,” she told The Green News. 

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Kayle Crosson