Fit for 55 Turns EU's Climate Target into Action, Challenging Other Major Economies to Follow

Environmental Defense Fund statement from Jill Duggan, Executive Director, Europe

July 14, 2021
Raul Arce-Contreras (240) 480-1545

 (July 14, 2021) Today, the European Commission released the “Fit for 55” package, a suite of measures that will underpin the European Union’s efforts to reach its pledge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 55% from 1990 levels by 2030. Part of the larger EU Green Deal, the “Fit for 55” package includes policy proposals that would define the pathway for the EU to fulfil its nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement. The proposals are the first step in the EU legislative process, with the EU climate laws expected to be finalised in the next two years.

“With this significant and comprehensive policy package, the European Union is leading from the front. The EU is upping the ante and challenging other major economies to not just set their climate targets, but to adopt the policy pathways needed to achieve them.

“The European Commission has provided a strong start for EU lawmakers. The proposals increase the ambition and broaden the scope of the EU Emissions Trading System, one of the largest carbon markets in the world. While the targets and the allocation of effort between the different instruments may need to be reworked and strengthened, this provides a strong foundation for the continued role of the ETS in decarbonising the energy system. The introduction of a climate border measure will also initiate a welcome discussion on the link between climate and trade.

“It’s good to see that the proposal includes road transport – a significant and growing source of EU emissions – in the EU ETS and eliminates exhaust emissions pollution from new cars and vans by 2035. To really change our bad habits, expanding the ETS to road transport must be done alongside – rather than instead of – other measures, and we must ensure all new cars and vans are zero-emitting by 2035 at the latest, as proposed now by the European Commission, a first among major economies.

All emissions not covered by the EU ETS will be covered by binding targets on the Member States and supplemented by sub-sector binding targets.

“The proposals do present problems, however. With regard to alternative fuels: the proposals fail to recognize the full climate impact of liquefied natural gas (LNG), and the full climate impact and supply constraints of advanced biofuels. 

“And the proposed increase of renewable energy in the energy mix, set at 40% by 2030, is not ambitious enough.

“These and other shortcomings will need to be ironed out in the coming months.

“We’ll also look for the European Commission to propose later this year ambitious legislation that cuts methane emissions from all gas consumed in the EU to deliver fast relief for climate change.

“The EU has sent the message to the international community that it’s committed to turning its climate target into action to tackle the climate crisis. Now EU lawmakers must ensure that the final legislation delivers on the EU’s 2030 target and its commitment to climate neutrality by 2050.”

  • Jill Duggan, Executive Director, Environmental Defense Fund Europe 

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