European Commission forges its sustainability strategy with Climate Law and Climate Pact


European Commission forges its sustainability strategy with Climate Law and Climate Pact

6 March 2020

Regulatory News Alert

On 4 March 2020, the European Commission presented a proposal of legislation in line with the EU's political commitment to be climate neutral by 2050 in order to protect the planet and the people. At the same time, the Commission is launching a public consultation on the future European Climate Pact. Through this consultation, the public will be involved in co-designing this instrument, leaving doors open for a more aggressive approach.

With the European Climate Law, the Commission proposed to force a legally binding target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The EU Institutions and Member States are bound to take the necessary measures at EU and national level to meet the target, taking into account the importance of promoting fairness and solidarity among Member States.

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In this context, relying on the Green Deal communication from December 2019, the proposal aims at:

  • Contributing to the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, including its long-term goal to keep the global temperature increase to well below 2°C
  • Contributing to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals
  • Establishing framework for achieving EU climate neutrality by setting a clear pathway to climate neutrality and enhancing certainty and confidence on the EU’s commitment for businesses, workers, investors, and consumers, as well as transparency and accountability
  • Providing for the conditions to set out a trajectory leading the Union to climate neutrality by 2050, for regular assessment of progress towards climate neutrality and the level of ambition of the trajectory identified, and mechanisms in case of insufficient progress or inconsistencies with the EU 2050 climate neutrality objective.

The Climate Law also addresses the necessary steps to get to the 2050 target:

  • Based on a comprehensive impact assessment, the Commission will propose a new EU target for greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2030
  • By June 2021, the Commission will review, and where necessary propose to revise all relevant policy instruments to deliver the additional emissions reductions for 2030
  • The Commission proposed the adoption of a 2030-2050 EU-wide trajectory for greenhouse gas emission reductions, to measure progress and give predictability to public authorities, businesses, and citizens
  • By September 2023, and every five years thereafter, the Commission will assess the consistency of EU and national measures with the climate-neutrality objective and the 2030-2050 trajectory
  • The Commission will be empowered to issue recommendations to Member States whose actions are inconsistent with the climate-neutrality objective, and Member States will be obliged to take due account of these recommendations or to explain their reasoning if they fail to do so
  • Member States will be required to develop and implement adaptation strategies to strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

This proposal will concretely pave the way for amendments in the current regulatory framework to ensure that, from all angles, sustainability goals are considered at the appropriate level. This may translate into further adjustment in MIFID, CRD/CRR, UCITS or AIFMD or PRIIPS regulations as well as other regulations for example on buildings, cars, CO2 emissions etc.


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Elodie Vandewoestyne
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Marijana Vuksic
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