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Minister Mikkonen: Commission proposal for the European Climate Law important step towards a carbon neutral Europe; the plan to update the 2030 target must come sooner than planned

Press release 2020-03-04 at 16:33

“The proposal for the European Climate Law given by the Commission today is an important step towards a carbon neutral EU by 2050. The European Union must lead the way in climate change mitigation and solving the sustainability crisis. All policy measures must contribute to the achievement of carbon neutrality,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen.

“To reach climate neutrality in 30 years, emission reductions must take place much more quickly. The Commission should give the proposal on raising the 2030 target sooner than has been planned. By 2030 emissions must be reduced by at least 55% compared to 1990 – and the decision on the new target must be made well ahead of the UN climate meeting in Glasgow in November.”

The Commission gave its proposal, as promised, within its first 100 days of work. According to the proposal, the climate neutrality objective by 2050 is included in the Climate Law and the emission reduction target to 2030 will be tightened. Progress towards a carbon neutral economy would be reviewed every five years, in line with the timeframes of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

“Objectives must always be set on the basis of the most recent scientific knowledge. This is why we should also consider whether a strong, independent and interdisciplinary climate panel would be needed to support the EU’s climate policy. We have excellent experiences of this in Finland.”

Where necessary, the Commission would propose further actions to be taken on the EU level to promote carbon neutrality, and give recommendations to the Member States. The Climate Law would also oblige the Member States to prepare national strategies or plans concerning climate change adaptation.

The European Climate Law is the first major legislative proposal concerning climate policy in the context of the European Green Deal.

“It is great to see how building a sustainable economy is finally at the heart of EU policies. The fact that carbon neutrality target is included in the law makes it legally binding. This is an important message to the rest of the world that the EU is taking climate change very seriously and is acting to respond to it,” Minister Mikkonen says.

The decision on the European Climate Law will be made jointly by the Council and the European Parliament. The discussions on the proposal with the Member States will start later in March. The Commission will present the proposal for the European Climate Law to the environment ministers at the Council meeting on Thursday 5 March.

Inquiries:

Riikka Yliluoma, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 295 250 091, riikka.yliluoma@ym.fi

Merja Turunen, Senior Environmental Adviser, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 295 250 387, merja.turunen@ym.fi