• European Green Deal proposal presented by the European Commission and is open for public consultation
  • The deal proposal lacks any definitive target for 2030 while reiterating the climate neutral status for the continent by 2050
  • An impact assessment once final will allow the commission to set GHG emissions reduction target for 2030
  • All targets once set will be monitored closely after every 5 years, starting from September 2023

Over two months after the European Commission (EC) tabled its draft European Green Deal putting down a target for Europe to become a climate neutral continent by 2050, it has now officially presented the proposal that’s aimed at providing a ‘direction of travel’ for all European Union (EU) policy. The commission is seeking public consultation on the proposal.

By June 2021, the commission will propose a new GHG emission reduction target for 2030, after a detailed impact assessment is complete. By September 2023, and thereafter after every 5 years, the commission will monitor and assess the progress of the measures employed by EU and all member nations. It will provide recommendations which the member states will be obliged to take account of.

“This path, 2030 to 2050, will be done as soon as we have finished a very detailed impact assessment work. That is something, which is necessary, we have promised it to the Council, we have promised it to the European Parliament and I think it is very important to convince everybody to go down this path with us,” said EC President Ursula von der Leyen.

The commission expects this deal to unlock an investment of at least €1 trillion over the next decade.

Public consultation on the proposed European Green Deal will be open for 12 weeks’ duration and will be negotiated by the European Parliament and the European Council. Inputs received will help finalize the Climate Pact which will then be launched before the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November 2020.

The proposed European Green Deal also dubbed as the EU Climate Law prompted Youth Climate Activist Greta Thunberg, invited by the EU Commissioner to speak to the EU College of Commissioners, to call it a ‘surrender’ to climate change. Setting up long term targets far into the future for 2030 or 2050 is not the solution, she argued, instead setting up annual targets starting from 2020 is what needs to be done.

“Your distant targets will mean nothing if high emissions continue like today, even for just a few more years, because that will use up our remaining carbon budget before we even have the chance to deliver on your 2030 or 2050 goals,” said Thunberg while addressing Members of the European Parliament (MEP) on climate change legislation in Brussels, reported Euronews.

However, European solar PV lobby association SolarPower Europe (SPE) CEO Walburga Hemetsberger said that the proposal for a Climate Law is a step in the right direction for achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

“Ambitious targets must be complemented by robust European and national policies, in order to accelerate solar’s deployment to help meet the climate neutrality target. The establishment of a Clean Energy Package implementation body to ensure that all necessary policies for the deployment of renewable energies are developed at a national level would be a concrete step to ensure progress,” added Hemetsberger. “It is also important to look at additional efforts to solve national bottlenecks related to grid access and permitting procedures. In parallel, a comprehensive industrial strategy for solar and renewables will be key to ensure a strong European renewable energy industry that will benefit from this growth, and support manufacturing companies to scale up their facilities.”