EU Parliament backs new carbon cuts

EPA/PATRICK SEEGER

A general view showing members of the European Parliament voting during a plenary session in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, June 14, 2017.

MEPs vow to stick to Paris commitments, with or without Trump


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Following a debate on the announced US withdrawal from the Paris agreement, Members of the European Parliament at the their plenary meeting on June 14 backed plans for new compulsory greenhouse gas cuts under the Paris agreement. The law covers close to two third of EU carbon emissions.

These cuts will help deliver on the EU’s overall target for 2030 on all policies – a 40% cut from 1990 levels, the European Parliament said in a press release, adding that the EU is committed to these cuts in the framework of the Paris Agreement.

The legislation will make it possible to break down the EU targets into binding, national ones for sectors not covered by the EU carbon market – i.e. agriculture, transport, building and waste, which together account for about 60% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Each EU member state will have to follow an emissions reduction pathway, calculated from a starting point of 2018, instead of 2020 as proposed by the Commission, in order to avoid an increase in emissions in the first few years or a postponement of their emission reductions.

To ensure long-term predictability, MEPs also set a target for 2050, of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared to 2005 levels.

MEPs also propose rules to reward early action from member states with a GDP per capita below EU average, which have taken, or will take, action before 2020, with more flexibility during the later part of the scheme.

To help member states achieve their goals, the regulation allows them to “borrow” up to 10% of the following year’s allowance, reducing it accordingly.

The report was approved by 534 votes to 88 and 56 abstentions.

MEPs opened negotiations with Council with an aim to reach a first reading agreement on the proposal. Informal “trilogue” negotiations will start when

The announcement from US President Donald Trump that the US will withdraw from the Paris accord was criticised by EU lawmakers, who announced that the European Union would stick to its commitments and move forward with its own climate legislation.

“Today´s vote gives a crystal clear signal to Donald Trump: Europe acts on its commitments under the Paris agreement and seizes the opportunities of green growth, with our without you,” said rapporteur Gerber-Jan Gerbrandy, a Dutch MEP from ALDE. “Almost all political groups have backed a strong and ambitious climate law.”

Meanwhile, CAN Europe criticised the Parliament for not doing enough to curb emission. “The Parliament failed to move from words to deeds on the need to scale up the EU’s emission cuts,” CAN Europe Director Wendel Trio said. “The vote results are out of sync with the recent numerous statements reaffirming the EU’s commitments to the Paris Agreement. The adoption of a starting point that better reflects actual emissions can barely compensate for the total amount of the other loopholes,” he said.

“By failing to align this policy with the Paris Agreement, the European Parliament kicks the can down the road to EU governments. Countries have no option but to treat this policy with more urgency and significantly improve the proposal,” Trio added.

 

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