On 14 July 2021, the European Commission adopted a package of proposals to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030, compared to the 1990 levels. Called Fit for 55, this package sets out ambitious measures to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
“Europe is now the very first continent that presents a comprehensive architecture to meet our climate ambitions,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, when announcing the proposals of the EU Green Deal.
The Fit for 55 package consists of a set of proposals in diverse sectors such as climate, energy, transport, buildings, land use and forestry.
A socially fair transition
To enhance equity amongst European citizens, the Fit for 55 package foresees the creation of a new Social Climate Fund. As increases of fossil fuel price are expected during the transition towards a carbon-neutral economic system, the Social Climate Fund will mitigate the costs to help the citizens most exposed to those increases.
The fund will provide EUR 72.2 billion between 2025 and 2032 in the EU budget from the new Emissions Trading System. An evaluation of its efficiency is planned in 2028.
A competitive transition
To ensure a transition towards climate neutrality, the package plans to strengthen the EU Emissions Trading System and to apply it to new sectors, like aviation, the maritime sector, road transport, and buildings.
The Commission also proposes a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism that will put a price on imports of a limited number of high-polluting goods based on their carbon content.
What’s more, cleaner vehicles and fuels are part of four proposals that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In this scope, the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation will ensure that electric vehicles will have the necessary infrastructure to recharge their batteries and to refuel.
In terms of energy, the updated Renewable Energy Directive proposes to increase the target from the current 32 % to a new level of 40 % of renewables in the EU energy mix. The Energy Efficiency Directive will also be revised.
A green transition
The package emphasises the importance of increasing the capacity of the EU’s forests, soils, and oceans to act as carbon sinks and stocks. The new proposal therefore looks to reverse the current trend of diminishing CO2 removals and to increase the quality and quantity of the EU’s forests and other natural carbon sinks. In 2030, the Commission will assess the progress made towards this objective.
In addition, the package presents measures that aim to strengthen sustainability criteria for bioenergy, by extending their scope of application and by enlarging no-go areas for sourcing.
The new EU Forest Strategy as well as the forthcoming new EU Soil Strategy, EU Nature Restoration Law, and Carbon Farming Initiative will also strengthen the EU’s natural carbon sinks.
The EU’s commitment
Even if the EU accounts for 8 % of global CO2 emissions, the EU recognises its responsibility for a higher share of cumulative emissions. Therefore, the EU is committed to lead a path towards a green, competitive, inclusive, circular economy.
President von der Leyen highlights: “Europe has always been the continent of scientists and innovators. We cannot always compete with the sheer size of our competitors, or, for example, the amount of natural resources they have. But we can rely on the most precious renewable resource in the world – and this is our ideas, our ingenuity, our innovative power of our people.”
MCAA Editorial Team
A European Green Deal
Communication - ‘Fit for 55’: delivering the EU’s 2030 Climate Target on the way to climate neutrality
Press release - European Green Deal: Commission proposes transformation of EU economy and society to meet climate ambitions
Statement by President von der Leyen on delivering the European Green Deal