EU strikes climate deal
The European Parliament reached an agreement with member states on April 21 on the European Climate Law that will make the EU's emissions targets legally binding.
The EU aims to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 versus the 1990 baseline level, as a stepping-stone towards net-zero emissions by 2050. The bloc's emissions were only 24% lower in 2019 than in 1990, meaning it will have to make greater progress in the next decade than it has achieved in the last 30 years.
Negotiators also agreed to limit the amount of emissions that can be removed using natural carbon sinks to 225mn metric tons of CO2 equivalent. The rationale for this cap is that it will prevent polluters from relying too much on removing carbon already in the atmosphere, without without addressing their own emissions. The European Commission said it would propose raising the threshold to 300mn mt, so that the EU can achieve a 57% reduction, although that commitment is not part of the law.
The previous goal was only a 40% reduction by 2030. The European Commission proposed last year a tougher target of "at least 55%," but MEPs backed an even more ambitious 60% cut in a vote last October. The deal comes just ahead of a summit of world leaders that will be hosted by the US on April 22-23. Earth Day has been celebrated on April 22 for 50 years.
The independent European Scientific Advisory Board will be set up to advise policymakers on aligning policy with EU climate targets, negotiators agreed. It will comprise 15 members from across Europe, each serving a four-year mandate.