Earlier this month, Germany’s government revealed its support for extending the European Union carbon pricing and an end to free carbon permits for airlines, as measures to help meet climate change targets. According to The Guardian, this decision placed pressure on the U.K. government to implement a similar package to meet climate targets. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has agreed to provide further details later this year of how the U.K. will meet climate targets ahead of the Conference of the Parties (Cop26) conference in Glasgow this year. At Cop26, nations will be required to set out national plans for carbon curbs over the next 10 years. The national plans, also known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), are intended to establish and support the basis of the Paris agreement.
According to the European Environment Agency, statistics show that EU greenhouse gas emissions fell by nearly 4% in 2019, reducing emissions to 24% below 1990 levels. Further, 80% of the reduction was from the heat and power sector although emissions from transport have continued to increase.
The European Commission is set to propose a dozen climate policies on 14 July, which are aimed at reducing greenhouse gases faster and in line to reduce net emissions by 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels.This proposal will also include reforms to the EU carbon market and a border levy that accounts for carbon costs on imported goods, which will require approval from EU governments and the European parliament. Other climate actions also include further potential investments in “carbon sinks” such as forests, grasslands and wetlands which should equate to 57% net reduction for member states.
According to the Guardian, a new law may be underway that could trigger $8 billion euros of additional climate climate spending in the 2022 budget, which also revealed that the energy sector would be key in reducing emissions via electrification. This decision followed from the court ruling in April this year after a law passed in 2019 had failed to make sufficient provisions for emission cuts by 2030.
Environmental groups have responded by criticising the deal as the goal to achieve zero emissions by 2050 is not possible following Poland’s departure from a provisional leader’s agreement last December. In addition, Poland relies on coal for 80% of the country’s power supply. The Climate Action Network director Wendel Trio stated that the “55% emission reduction target for 2030’ is not in line with the Paris agreement’s ambition to limit temperature rise to 1.5C by the end of the century.” The chair of European Parliament’s environment committee, Pascal Canfin, stated “it had proved impossible to move the 27 member states from the headline target of a reduction of 55% following agreement last December, but that commitments on investment in carbon sinks were a significant win”. According to the Guardian, critics of the carbon pricing market argue that little has been done to reduce emissions where the overuse of free permits have enabled firms to use energy at very little cost. As a result of the pandemic, the price has risen sharply nearing the caps placed on the price by the EU and the UK.
The EU’s aim to reduce 55% of emissions by 2030 may be somewhat ambitious but is the necessary steps forward to help protect our planet. Considering that costs are likely to increase sharply as a result of new policies, it is important that the government provides the necessary support and works alongside the industries affected during the transition phase. Further, the new policies should also incentivise businesses and the wider public to achieve such government objectives as steps to achieving their emissions target by 2030 while also providing a pathway for economic recovery from COVID 19.
To conclude, it is highly important that EU governments are committed to taking the necessary steps and actions to reduce their carbon footprint for the purposes of protecting our planet and its future. The consequences of failing to act will be too costly for the international community and for future generations. Therefore, we are responsible as individuals and states to take the necessary actions that will safeguard and protect the environment now, and in the future .
- EU Climate Goal To Reduce 55% Of Emissions By 2030 - July 20, 2021
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- Brexit News: The Importance Of Continuing A U.K.-EU Deal Once The Transition Period Ends - January 21, 2021