July 25, 2021

Transport, heating, imports … Brussels presents 12 bills for the climate

First, there was political time, the time that saw Europeans commit to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, in accordance with the Paris agreement they had endorsed, and to reduce, accordingly. , their CO emissions2 by at least 55% by 2030. It took years of diplomacy and a few stormy European summits for the Twenty-Seven to embark together in the fight against global warming. Now is the time to put words into action.

On Wednesday July 14, the European Commission presented a dozen legislative proposals which precisely aim to give substance to the European Green Pact. On the menu: enlargement of the European carbon market, end of diesel and petrol cars, kerosene tax on aviation, new renewable energy targets, establishment of a levy at the borders of the European Union (EU) to imports of goods manufactured under less green conditions than their Community competitors, … “We get into the hard and the concrete, the œpractical work, sector by sector, country by country, political commitments ”, summarizes Lucie Mattera, from the European think tank E3G.

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This legislative package, on an unprecedented scale, required hours of work and discussions, from one Commission Directorate-General to another, or even between the Commissioners who did not all agree, but also with member states and European parliamentarians, who will be called upon to express their views. For the Twenty-Seven and MEPs to come to an agreement, and for these (most certainly amended) proposals to turn into directives and other regulations, having the force of law, it will take months of negotiations. Without forgetting all kinds of lobbies who will be keen to defend their interests. But the Commission’s proposals are already making it possible to draw the broad outlines of a greener Europe.

A second carbon market

Strengthening the European carbon market (Emissions Trading System, ETS), on which rights to pollute are exchanged, is at the heart of this legislative package. The most polluting industries (electricity production, steelmakers, cement manufacturers, commercial aviation for flights in the EU, etc.), which represent 40% of CO emissions2, have been subject to it since 2005, without this having significantly changed the situation, except for the production of electricity. The price per tonne of CO2 remained very low for a long time – 5 euros for ten years – and therefore did not encourage heavy industry to transform.

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