The EU’s climate deal comes just ahead of Earth Day, when US president Joe Biden will commence a virtual climate summit with 40 world leaders.
Yesterday (21 April), the European Union reached a deal on a climate law that includes an ambitious target to reduce net carbon emissions by at least 55pc by 2030.
In a statement, the European Commission’s executive vice-president for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said the provisional agreement was “a landmark moment for the EU”.
As well as the 55pc reduction by the end of the decade, the law would enshrine the objective of a climate-neutral EU by 2050.
Portugal’s minister of environment and climate action, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, said the European climate law would be “the law of laws”, setting the framework for EU climate-related legislation for the next 30 years.
“With this agreement we send a strong signal to the world – right ahead of the climate summit on 22 April – and pave the way for the commission to propose its ‘fit-for-55’ climate package in June,” he said.
The provisional agreement also includes the establishment of a European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change and an intermediate climate target for 2040. Negotiators also agreed that the commission would prepare sector-specific roadmaps to chart the path to climate neutrality in different areas of the economy.
If plans to reach net zero by 2050 were adopted globally, it would help limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
World leaders meet at climate summit
The EU deal arrived a day ahead of a virtual climate summit hosted by US president Joe Biden, in which 40 world leaders will convene to discuss their pledges to reduce carbon emissions and protect the future of the planet.
Having ensured the US rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement at the beginning of the year, Biden will reportedly make an aggressive new pledge to halve US carbon emissions. The two-day summit will be the largest virtual summit of world leaders to be convened over the past year.
It comes on the same week that the International Energy Agency released a “dire warning” about the world’s rising CO2 emissions, which are expected to see the second-largest increase of all time this year.
Ireland has already set a similar target to the EU with its Climate Action Bill, which is committing to reducuing carbon emissions by 51pc over the next decade.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, TD, reiterated that Ireland is “tired of being laggards” when it comes to the climate crisis.