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    European Commission Publishes Draft Climate Law


The regulation is a part of the Green Deal, aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050.

by: William Powell

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European Commission Publishes Draft Climate Law

The European Commission (EC) has published a draft Climate Law, setting it how the European Union (EU) will play its part in achieving a net-zero carbon emission target by 2050, and removing carbon from the atmosphere thereafter.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is due to address the environment council as the guest of the EU president March 5, where the EC will present the draft law and proposals for a just transition mechanism as "any other business" items. Tomislav Coric, the energy and environment minister of Croatia, will chair the meeting; other EC representatives will include the executive vice-president of the EC, Frans Timmermans; and EU commissioners Elisa Ferreira and Virginijus Sinkevicius, but not apparently the energy commissioner.

The climate law is to be a part of the Green Deal,  a new strategy that aims to transform the EU "into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy, where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use," the document says.

It also aims to protect, conserve and enhance the EU's natural capital, and "protect the health and well- being of citizens from environment-related risks and impacts. At the same time, this transition must be just and inclusive." Ferreira is responsible for assuring support for regions most affected by digital and climate transitions, including through the Just Transition Fund. Sinkevicius is commissioner for the environment, oceans and fisheries.

The law says the EU "is a global leader in the transition towards climate neutrality, and is determined to help raise global ambition and to strengthen the global response to climate change, using all tools at its disposal, including climate diplomacy."

The regulation establishes a framework for the irreversible and gradual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and enhancement of removals from natural or other sinks in the EU. The binding objective of climate neutrality is part of the long-term temperature goal set out in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement.

Separately, UK finance minister Rishi Sunak is expected to use his first budget mid-March to end the freeze on duty paid by farmers for off-road diesel, the Financial Times reported March 4, saying that similar moves in France spawned the gilets jaunes protests. The abolition of the £2.4 ($3)bn subsidy will also hit the construction industry, already facing an upheaval as the UK negotiates the terms of its withdrawal from the European Union, the paper said. Known as 'red diesel' the fuel as a duty of £0.111/litre, compared with £0.577/l for standard diesel.

Academic Nicholas Stern has called for the ministry to set aside £8bn in infrastructure to kick-start a greener economy in areas difficult to decarbonise such as buildings, industry and transport. The UK pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in the closing weeks of the Theresa May government.