EU Parliament votes for climate neutrality by 2050, Citizens’ Council for speed limit

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The EU Parliament approved the draft for a European climate law on Thursday. Linked to this is the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990. So far, the bar has been minus 40 percent. At the same time, the promise made in the European Green Deal to become climate neutral by 2050 will become an obligation. Within the next 30 years, the emissions of CO2 and other gases that are harmful to the climate are reduced to zero net.

For the initiative 442 MPs voted. 203 were against, 51 abstained. According to the parliament, an upcoming draft of the EU Commission for the regulation on land use and forestry should actually raise the reduction target for 2030 to 57 percent on the inclusion of emissions and the reduction of greenhouse gases from land use and forestry.

According to the decision, the Commission must present a proposal for a Union-wide climate target for 2040 at the latest six months after the first global inventory in 2023 in order to comply with the relevant Paris Agreement. The Brussels government agency also promised to publish a report in 2024 on the maximum amount of greenhouse gas emissions that the EU may emit in the period from 2030 to 2050 in the light of the Paris Agreement (“EU climate budget”).

By the end of September 2023 and every five years thereafter, the Commission will also assess the joint progress made by all EU countries as well as national measures on the road to climate neutrality. In view of the importance of independent scientific advice and on the basis of a proposal by Parliament, a European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change will also be set up to examine and monitor the actions taken.

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The representatives of the people had initially called for an obligation to reduce emissions by 60 percent in order to actually limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees in accordance with the Paris Agreement. The EU states, however, pleaded for minus 55 percent. In April, following the commitments made by the Commission, Parliament finally agreed to a corresponding compromise.

The Greens voted against the law because it would not meet the Paris climate targets. The 55 percent is a gross target that includes sinks such as forests and moors, they give to consider. Would this natural CO2– Removed memory, the target shrinks to 52.8 percent net. The green negotiator Michael Bloss complained: The legislature does not listen to the voices of the scientists who announced heat waves, droughts, floods, forest fires, water shortages and the loss of species. Judgments by the Federal Constitutional Court and by courts in France, Belgium and the Netherlands would also be ignored.

The parliamentary rapporteur Jytte Guteland of the Social Democrats would also have “preferred to go further”. Still, it is a “good, science-based deal that will make a big difference”. The EU Council of Ministers still has to formally approve the agreement. The regulation will then be published in the Official Journal of the EU and will come into force 20 days later. The Commission plans to come up with a number of proposals in mid-July 2021 to enable the EU to meet the more ambitious 2030 target.

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Has parallel the “Citizens’ Council Climate” its guidelines presented to politics. The committee met from April 26th to June 23rd under the patronage of ex-Federal President Horst Köhler. With the help of experts, 160 people drawn by lot familiarized themselves with the requirements of climate protection. They asked themselves how Germany can achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement while taking social, economic and ecological aspects into account.

One of the most important results is that the 1.5 degree target must have top priority. The council demands that climate protection is a human right and should be included in the Basic Law. In addition, he advocates guidelines and measures in the fields of energy, mobility, buildings and heating as well as nutrition. With a comparatively narrow majority of 58 percent, the vote of the people recommends, for example, that a general speed limit be issued. Accordingly, 120 km / h should be allowed on motorways, 80 km / h on country roads and 30 km / h in urban areas. The only proposal that did not find a majority was the introduction of a city toll.

The Council also sees the state as responsible for setting a framework for orientation for the energy transition. This should come about unbureaucratically, cross-party and humanistically in the sense of intergenerational justice. “The speed of the energy transition has priority over the costs, whereby the end user should be burdened the least financially,” is another appeal. The security of supply should remain guaranteed. Citizens’ acceptance must be guaranteed through increased participation.

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The majority of those involved believe that Germany’s entire energy supply should be covered by 70 percent by 2035 and 90 percent by 2040. In the electricity sector, 100 percent should be achieved by 2035. Public transport must be “expanded, optimized and more attractive immediately”. The CO2-Prize is intended as a binding instrument for the entire economy and society to contribute to the achievement of the climate goals. Climate-friendly agriculture and a food sector should be implemented by 2030.


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