On March 4, 2020, the European Commission (the "Commission") revealed its proposal for the first European Climate Law, establishing the framework for achieving climate-neutrality by reducing emissions and increasing removals of greenhouse gases to reduce net emissions to zero in the European Union ("EU") by 2050. This proposal, which is part of the European Green Deal brought forward by the Commission in December 2019, aims to complement the EU policy framework on climate change and to enshrine in binding law the EU's objective to achieve climate-neutrality by 2050 in pursuit of the temperature goal set out in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement.

To achieve the goal, the proposal sets a short-term objective of a 50% to 55% reduction by 2030, compared to the previous 40% reduction target, and provides for the implementation of a 2030-2050 trajectory for greenhouse gas emission reductions, to measure progress and give predictability to public authorities, businesses, and citizens. This trajectory will take into account many considerations, including cost-effectiveness and economic efficiency, competiveness of the EU's economy, and the need to ensure a just and socially fair transition. EU Member States will be in charge of implementing necessary national measures to follow the trajectory and achieve the EU objectives.

By September 2023 and every five years thereafter, these measures will be assessed by the Commission, which will be empowered to issue recommendations to Member States whose actions are inconsistent or inadequate with the climate-neutrality objective. Following these recommendations, Member States will have to take them into account or to explain why they decide not to address them.

The proposal is currently before the European Parliament for further consideration. If adopted, it would pave the way for additional business opportunities, in particular in the energy-saving technologies and renewable energy sectors.

Originally published 14 May, 2020

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