EU publishes ‘Fit for 55’ decarbonisation plan

Wed 14 July 2021 View all news

The European Commission has adopted a package of proposals which aim to make the EU's climate, energy, land use, transport and taxation policies fit and capable of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.

The target is a key step to the EU's ambition of carbon-neutrality by 2050.

The proposals aim to enable the necessary acceleration of greenhouse gas emission reductions in the next decade. They combine the application of emissions trading to new sectors and a tightening of the existing EU Emissions Trading System; increased use of renewable energy; greater energy efficiency; a faster roll-out of low emission transport modes and the infrastructure and fuels to support them; an alignment of taxation policies with the European Green Deal objectives; measures to prevent carbon leakage; and tools to preserve and grow natural carbon sinks.

The EU says it is aiming for a 'socially fair transition'. While in the medium- to long-term, the benefits of EU climate policies clearly outweigh the costs, climate policies risk putting extra pressure on vulnerable households, micro-enterprises and transport users in the short run. The design of the policies is intended to fairly spread the costs of tackling and adapting to climate change.

Some of the key proposals of the package include:

  • Tighter emission limits for cars, which are expected to effectively end new petrol and diesel vehicle sales by 2035
  • A tax on aviation fuel, and a 10-year tax holiday for low carbon alternatives
  • A so-called carbon border tariff, which would require manufacturers from outside the EU to pay more for importing materials like steel and concrete
  • More ambitious targets for expanding renewable energy around the bloc
  • A requirement for countries to more quickly renovate buildings that are not deemed energy efficient

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