MEPs vote for 2050 climate goal: carbon neutral EU

Snowy Finland. MEPs supported a 2050 target of carbon neutral EU on committee today. © Krista Sormunen / WWFBrussels, Belgium - 7 December 2017

MEPs showed they mean to make the Paris Agreement more than empty words today when they voted in favour of a net zero EU greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050 at the latest. They also called for both the EU and Member States to develop climate plans for 2050, and to make sure their shorter-term 2030 plans were consistent with those long term strategies.

The European Parliament's energy and environment committees were voting on the proposed Energy Union Governance Regulation, which will set the rules governing EU and national policies on energy and climate change from 2021 onwards.

Alex Mason, Senior Policy Officer at the WWF European Policy Office said:
"It's excellent to see so many MEPs taking the Paris Agreement seriously, and committing to the EU being carbon neutral by 2050 at the latest. This sends a clear signal to investors that when it comes to the low carbon economy the EU means business. Let's hope the Member States show the same resolve at the Energy Council on 18 December."

In another step towards investor confidence, MEPs confirmed that in terms of renewable energy and energy efficiency, Member States should not fall below a linear trajectory running from their 2020 target to their 2030 target. This is at odds with the compromise drafted for the Member States by the Estonian Presidency of the EU Council, which would allow them to put off efforts to the late 2020s.

EU energy ministers are expected to agree on its position on the Governance Regulation on 18th December. So far most Member States have made proposals for how to weaken the law - for example by watering down the rules on planning and reporting - rather than strengthen it.

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