European Union Parliament Environment Committee members voted today to make climate neutrality by 2050 obligatory in EU and individual member states. The MEPs also called for the EU to set more ambitious interim climate targets, including targeting a 60% emissions reduction by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

The MEP’s 60% emissions reduction goal is more stringent than the current proposed EU Commission target of “at least 50% towards 55%.” Additionally, the MEPs also called for a 2040 interim target to be proposed following an impact assessment, to ensure the EU remains on track to reach its 2050 target.

In March 2020, the European Commission proposed a climate law that would require the EU to become climate neutral by 2050. The Environment Committee’s 2050 target is more ambitious than that proposed in the climate law, adding the requirement that all individual member states achieve this milestone, and then going beyond neutrality, calling on the EU and member states to be climate negative after 2050, removing more GHG emissions from the environment than they emit.

Parliament rapporteur Jytte Guteland (S&D, Sweden) said:

“The adoption of the report sends a clear message to the European Commission and the EU Council in light of the upcoming negotiations: we expect all Member States to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest and we need strong interim targets in 2030 and 2040 for the EU as well to achieve this.

“I’m also satisfied with the inclusion of a greenhouse gas budget, which sets out the total remaining quantity of greenhouse gas emissions as CO2 equivalent that could be emitted until 2050 at the latest, without putting at risk the Union’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.”

In terms of next steps on the proposals, Parliament will vote on its first reading during the 5 – 8 October plenary session, after which it is ready to start negotiations with member states.