Fit for 55
The European Commission is expected to present a package of legislative proposals today, on 14 July to get the EU on track for achieving its 2030 target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent below 1990 levels.
With this so called “Fit for 55” package, the Commission is delivering on the climate pillar of the EU Green Deal, translating the ambition outlined in the European Climate Law into concrete legislation. It puts meat around the bone of the EU’s intentions, reaffirming the credibility of its green deal agenda and climate commitments both internally and externally.
The package will be the subject of intense and complicated negotiations in the EU’s lawmaking institutions – the Council of the EU representing national governments, and the European Parliament – well into 2022, which will inevitably lead to modifications. The final content might also be influenced by the upcoming international climate change negotiations, COP 26, in Glasgow in November.
The “Fit for 55” package is about tightening the nuts and bolts of the EU’s climate and energy regulatory framework. The current framework is calibrated against a 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target of at least 40 percent. In December 2020, EU Member States agreed to increase that target to at least 55 percent. The recently adopted Climate Law translates this objective into law, making the bloc legally bound to achieve 55 percent emissions cuts by 2030 and ‘climate neutrality’ by 2050. This is no small feat: it requires a doubling of the current rate of annual emissions cuts, across the economy, until the middle of the century.
The package is likely to be the largest legislative package the Commission has ever rolled out, making changes to a batch of laws that make up the core of the EU’s climate and energy legislation in one go. It will include revisions of eight existing laws including on the emissions trading system (ETS), renewable energy, energy efficiency, emission standards for cars, and energy taxation. Four new initiatives will include a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) and a social facility to protect vulnerable consumers. It leaves no sector untouched and will affect governments, businesses and consumers alike.
Towards the end of the year, an additional set of complementary proposals covering energy performance of buildings, decarbonized gases, and methane emissions in the energy sector are expected. These will address inter alia the role of gas in the energy transition, which is one of the EU’s big remaining strategic choices.
Read more about the Fit for 55 legislative train schedule of European Parliament here.