Today the European Parliament’s Environment Committee took steps towards turning its ‘climate emergency’ declaration into action, but stopped too soon. MEPs voted in favour of a 60% emissions reduction target for 2030, which is an increase on the European Commission’s proposed 50-55%, but still not the 65% emissions reduction science says is needed. The final vote on adopting or not the whole report takes place tomorrow morning.
Imke Lübbeke, WWF European Policy Office’s head of climate and energy,commented: “Today’s result shows MEPs are more in tune with science than the Commission and Member States. This must now be confirmed in the plenary vote next month.”
MEPs failed to say anything about increasing carbon dioxide removals by sinks up to 2030, which needs to happen in parallel to cutting emissions, or to require the Commission to publish an EU decarbonisation roadmap every five years.
On the plus side, MEPs did support the creation of an independent scientific body, similar to national expert bodies, to advise on EU targets and scrutinise plans and policies for meeting them.
“Target aside, the rest of today’s vote was a mixed bag”, said Alex Mason, Senior Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office. “While a move towards scrutiny of EU climate proposals by a formal body is right and necessary, sidelining a five-yearly decarbonisation check-up - as per the Paris Agreement - will make its job harder. And cutting emissions is only part of the picture - we also need to increase carbon dioxide removal in the land use sector, by restoring natural ecosystems like forests and wetlands”
If the full report including all the amendments voted on today is approved tomorrow, the European Parliament’s plenary vote will take place in early (5-9) or mid (19-23) October. Member States will reach agreement (‘general approach’) on their position possibly in October or December. At the same time, the European Commission is due to publish its impact assessment, known as the ‘2030 climate target plan’ and proposed target increase next week.