The European Council has formally adopted a law that sets a 2030 deadline for its 27 member countries to cut their emissions by 55% from 1990 levels, en route to a net-zero emissions target by 2050.
The European Union affirmed announced the 55% target and the climate neutrality pledge at U.S. President Joe Biden’s Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April, CNN recalls. But “until Monday, only five countries had actually made their pledges legally binding, according to Climate Watch Data: The United Kingdom and New Zealand, as well as EU members Hungary, Luxembourg, and France.”
The European Council decision was the last hurdle for the full EU, after the European Parliament adopted the climate measures last week.
“I warmly welcome this final step of the adoption of the EU’s very first climate law which enshrines into legislation the 2050 climate neutrality objective,” said Environment and Climate Action Minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes of Portugal, which currently holds the EU chair. “An agreement on the European climate law has been a priority for the Portuguese Presidency and I am glad that we have successfully brought it over the finishing line.”
The EU law “seeks to limit its reliance on carbon capture by capping the amount to 225 megatonnes of carbon,” CNN writes. “It will also seek to become a negative carbon economy—where it removes more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits—after 2050.” The measure establishes a scientific board to advise European decision-makers on climate policy, and holds out the possibility of an interim carbon reduction target for 2040 if it’s deemed necessary.