EU countries reach agreement on climate pledge

European Union countries have agreed to impose tougher climate rules aimed at reducing EU greenhouse gases by at least 55% in 2030.

After more than 16 hours of negotiations, environment ministers from the 27 member states of the European Union have reached agreement on five laws that are part of a wider package of measures to ensure a phase-out of the sale of new fossil fuel cars by 2035 and to provide financial support to protect the poorest citizens the cost of carbon dioxide emissions.

The new climate rules are expected to cut EU carbon emissions by at least 55% in 2030 compared to 1990 instead of the previously agreed 40%.

“The climate crisis and its consequences are clear, and therefore politics is inevitable,” said Frans Timmermans, EU climate policy chief.

Some of the essential elements of the package presented were first proposed by the European Commission last summer, including a law requiring that new cars sold in the EU emit zero CO2 from 2035, which would effectively prohibit the sale of cars with internal combustion engines.

The ban on combustion engine cars has already been backed by the European Parliament, making it likely that the other proposals will eventually become EU law after the final differences are ironed out.but with the national governments of the bloc.

“The Council is now ready to negotiate with the European Parliament to conclude the package, thus placing the European Union more than ever at the forefront of the fight against climate change”, declared the French Minister for Energy Transition Agnes Pannier-Runacher.

Besides banning internal combustion engines, EU ministers also backed a new EU carbon market to tax CO2 costs of polluting fuels used in transport and buildings, which will be launched in 2027, and has rallied behind EU carbon market reforms, which force industry and power stations to pay for the pollution they create.

In addition, countries have also accepted key elements of the Commission’s proposal to strengthen the market to reduce emissions by 61% by 2030 and extend it to maritime transport.

Transport and Environment, Europe’s leading clean transport campaign group, added that the EU government’s deal is “historic” as it “breaks the oil industry’s grip on transport”.

Although countries such as Italy and Slovakia lobbied to delay the phase-out, which would be pushed back to 2040, ministers eventually reached a compromise that kept the 2035 target and asked Brussels to assess in 2026 the development of the plug-in hybrid. vehicles and whether they could contribute to the goal, according to Reuters.

Lithuania was the only country to oppose the final agreements, having unsuccessfully sought a bigger fund alongside Poland, Latvia and others feared the new CO2 market could increase citizens’ energy bills.

However, despite the EU’s commitment to drastically reduce transport emissions by 2050 – which account for 25 of the EU’s total emissions – and promoting electric cars, a report by the bloc’s external auditor last year showed the bloc lacked proper charging stations.

With these measures, the EU continues on its road to carbon neutrality in 2050, setting an example for other major polluters, including the United States and China.

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