As EU policymakers prepare a massive new package of policies to combat climate change, countries in the European Union granted the final assent on Monday to a law that will make the bloc’s greenhouse gas emission targets legally enforceable.
In April, Parliamentarians and EU member states struck an agreement on the climate law, which sets goals to lower net EU emissions by 55 percent by 2030 and eradicate them by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.
On Monday, ministers from the EU’s 27 member states formally ratified the agreement, with the exception of Bulgaria, which abstained.
In December, leaders from all EU countries signed on to the 2030 emissions-reduction target, which aims to put the bloc on a path to avert the worst effects of climate change if followed globally. Rather than being a binding requirement for each country, the targets apply to all EU emissions.
This will necessitate a major policy shift. The majority of EU laws are aimed at meeting a previous target of cutting emissions by 40% by 2030.
On July 14, the European Commission will start that upgrade by proposing a dozen policies to transform industry, energy, transportation, and housing in order to generate less CO2. EU carbon market reforms, higher CO2 rules for new cars, and more ambitious renewable energy targets are among the proposed.
The climate law also mandates that Brussels establish an independent expert organization to advise on climate policies, as well as a budget-like process to determine the total emissions the EU can create between 2030 and 2050 in order to meet its climate goals.
The law was passed by the European Parliament last week. This week, Parliament and member states will sign the text, which is a formal step before it becomes law.