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Climate policy: Frans Timmermans wants climate-neutral EU by 2050


As the new vice-president for climate protection Timmermans wants to drastically reduce the EU's CO2 emissions. In the first 100 days he wants to submit a climate protection law.

The designated Vice-President for Climate Protection in the European Commission wants to quickly submit a far-reaching bill. Frans Timmermans announced at his hearing in the European Parliament in Brussels that "within the first 100 days of my mandate, I will propose a Climate Change Bill that will anchor the goal of climate neutrality in EU legislation by 2050." In addition, he wants to start immediately to work out more ambitious goals for the period until 2030.

Timmermans will be responsible for climate change in the newly elected European Commission. The Social Democrat wants to significantly reduce the emission of carbon dioxide. "I'll come up with a legislative proposal that will help us cut emissions by at least 50 percent, or even 55 percent," Timmermans said. Currently, the EU's official target is a 40 percent reduction in CO2 emissions.

About 55-percent target is still to be decided

Some MPs saw the target of 55 percent by 2030 as critical. Timmermans pointed out that further analysis on feasibility and impact should be completed first. On this basis, it should decide which target will be proposed to reduce emissions by 2030 in the Climate Change Act. A reduction of 55 percent would mean "drastic measures".

The EU countries France, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Latvia and Luxembourg had recently reached a goal in a letter to Timmermans, by 2030, the EU emissions of climate-damaging gases by 55 percent below the value of Lower in 1990. Germany did not sign the letter on the 55 percent target, although Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) recently supported the goal in a joint appearance with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

It is also unclear what the climate protection law should still include next to the neutrality goal. The designated EU vice-president said he needed some more time to see how far you could go. It is clear, for example, that it will also need additional measures for aviation and shipping.

"More than 90 percent of Europeans want us to act"

Turning to economic concerns, Timmermans pointed out that the EU has already reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 22 percent compared to 1990, with economic growth up 58 percent. "We have shown that the fight against climate change does not harm the European economy," said the Social Democrat. He does not want car-free Europe, but zero emissions cars in Europe.

Timmermans asked MEPs at the end of the hearing for backing for an ambitious climate policy. "More than 90 percent of Europeans want us to act," he said. This is a unique opportunity to demonstrate what politicians are good at.

That Timmermans gets the necessary approval of the European Parliament for his new position, is considered safe. The future EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had already announced in July to propose a "Green Deal for Europe" in the first 100 days of her term of office, which should also include the first European climate law.

Green MEP Bas Eickhout expressed his skepticism after hearing Timmermans. In his view, there is a risk that the "Green Deal" will remain a collection of non-binding strategies, he criticized. Having the right intentions and finding promising words is not enough. It needs more concrete steps.

According to the findings of climate scientists, the net emissions of carbon dioxide in the next 20 to 30 years must be rapidly reduced to zero, if the global warming should not exceed 1.5 degrees. Climate neutrality means that most of the greenhouse gases are saved and the rest has to be compensated, for example through afforestation or storage. The researchers warn that there will only be a maximum of ten years left to reduce emissions so drastically that neutrality will be achieved by 2050.

Source: zeit

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