European Parliament in favour of net-zero carbon economy by 2050

Last Wednesday in plenary the European Parliament took its stance in the fight against climate change and showed its ambition to accelerate energy transition. The Parliament voted on renewable energy, energy efficiency and the framework-law on energy and climate (governance of the Energy Union), and all proposals were accepted with a strong majority.

The Parliament set a binding EU-wide renewable energy target of 35% by 2030. Even though the text fails to introduce national binding targets, it is an acceptably more ambitious goal than the Commission’s proposal 27%. The text also includes phasing-out of biodiesel made of palm oil as of 2021, but does not set meaningful sustainability criteria for bioenergy.

The Members voted for a binding EU-wide energy efficiency target of at least 35% by 2030, combined with indicative national targets and yearly new and additional efforts on final energy consumers. The target was brought down from the earlier voted 40% target agreed by the ITRE committee in December. Nevertheless, the text enables the achievement of the EU energy and climate targets in a cost-effective way while reducing import dependency and energy bills for all citizens.

The governance of the Energy Union provides with a framework to accomplish the Paris Agreement. The Parliament introduces for the first time a “carbon budget” that determines how much carbon can still be emitted to the atmosphere to stay within the limits of 1,5/2 degrees warming and to reach a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. The Parliament accepted also national energy and climate plans for 2030 and long-term climate and energy strategies for 2050, as well as planning and reporting obligations for member states in an effort to reduce the number of citizens affected by energy poverty.

The next step will be trilogues, where tough negotiations on all three files are expected.

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