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New European climate law

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

New European climate law:


Context:

The European Union has unveiled some of the world’s most ambitious proposals, titled “Fit for 55”, to reduce carbon emissions and wean its 27 members off fossil fuels.

  • These measures are a EU’s roadmap to achieve its target to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.

 

The roadmap includes:

It takes particular aim at transport, both personal and commercial, across the block.

  • Cars with combustion engines, for example, would not be produced within the bloc from 2035.
  • Financial incentives would be offered to countries that replace traditional fuel with a sustainable alternative in aviation and maritime transportation.
  • Minimum tax rate for petrol and gasoline fuels would be increased by significant margins, as would tax on kerosene.

 

Carbon border:

  • The proposed carbon border would place tariffs on certain goods produced outside the bloc, depending on their carbon footprint, subjecting them to the same standards that already exist for goods produced within the EU.
  • The plan is to discourage EU companies from importing cheaper materials from places where environmental standards are lower.

 

Lowering of the cap in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS):

  • Created in 2005, the ETS works by placing a cap on the carbon emissions companies within the EU are allowed to produce each year.
  • If a company goes over, they are fined. They can also buy “allowances” from others in the ETS, roll over unused allowances.

 

Benefits:

  1. Spur sustainable economic growth
  2. Create jobs.
  3. Deliver health and environmental benefits for EU citizens.
  4. contribute to the long-term global competitiveness of the EU economy by promoting innovation in green technologies.

 

Challenges in implementation:

  1. Some member states are poorer than others, meaning the transition to Brussels’ goals are harder, while other member states have economies built on industries that by their nature produce more emissions.
  2. It will also be politically difficult, as member states are currently divided on many other pan-European issues — from rule of law to human rights — and will likely use this debate on climate change as a proxy for other ongoing rows.
  3. Experts say, although it is technologically and economically possible to implement these policies earlier, in this form, the Green Deal will not be enough to limit global warming to 1.5C.
  4. Even if the EU becomes carbon neutral, other developing countries will rapidly increase their emissions.

 

Previously, how has the European Union responded to climate change?

  • EU countries have set binding emission targets for key sectors of the economy to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • By 2017, the EU had reduced its emissions by almost 22% compared to 1990, reaching its 2020 emission reduction target three years ahead of schedule.

 

Why has climate change now become a global challenge?

The current changes in the planet’s climate are transforming the world.

  1. The last two decades included 18 of the warmest years on record, and extreme weather events, such as forest fires, heatwaves and floods, are becoming more frequent both in Europe and elsewhere.
  2. Scientists warn that without urgent action, global warming is likely to exceed 2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2060, and could even reach as much as 5°C by the end of the century.
  3. Such a rise in the global temperature will have a devastating impact on nature, bringing about irreversible changes to many ecosystems and a consequent loss of biodiversity.
  4. Higher temperatures and intensified weather events will also result in huge costs for the EU’s economy and hamper countries’ ability to produce food.

 

Need of the hour:

The European Union accounts for around 8% of the world’s carbon emissions from fossil fuels. Containing rising temperatures will need firm action from bigger economies, including the US and China, the world’s two biggest carbon emitters.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know what Asian Brown Cloud is? Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of the targets.
  2. Such initiatives by EU and other developed nations.
  3. What is the Paris Agreement?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of climate targets set by the EU.

Sources: Indian Express.