European Climate Law
Regulation (EU) 2021/1119 establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality and amending Regulations (EC) No 401/2009 and (EU) 2018/1999 (‘European Climate Law’)
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE REGULATION?
establishes a framework for achieving climate neutrality within the European Union (EU) by 2050 (that is, a balance of EU-wide greenhouse-gas* emissions and their removal regulated in EU law);
includes, in addition to the binding objective of climate neutrality in the EU by 2050, the aim of achieving negative emissions in the EU thereafter;
provides for a binding EU target of a net domestic reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 55% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2030, and to set a climate target for 2040 within six months of the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement;
introduces rules to ensure continuous progress towards the global adaptation goal in the Paris Agreement (see summary).
EU institutions and EU Member States must take all necessary measures to meet the regulation’s aims, while taking fairness, solidarity and cost-effectiveness into account.
The regulation establishes an independent European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change. The Management Board of the European Environment Agency designates the 15 members of the Advisory Board for a term of 4 years following an open selection procedure. They are selected on the basis of their scientific excellence, broad expertise and professional experience in the field of climate and environment science. The 15 senior scientific experts are appointed in a personal capacity.
The board’s tasks include:
considering the latest scientific findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and scientific climate data, in particular with regard to information relevant to the EU;
providing scientific advice and issuing reports on existing and proposed EU measures;
contributing to the exchange of independent scientific knowledge;
identifying action and opportunities to meet the EU’s targets;
raising awareness on climate change and its impact.
Member States must also:
set up a climate advisory body to provide expert scientific advice to the relevant national authorities;
establish a multilevel climate and energy dialogue involving local authorities, the civil society, the business community, investors, other relevant stakeholders and the public;
submit their 30-year strategy to the European Commission by 1 January 2029, and every 10 years after that, updating this every 5 years if necessary.
The regulation defines the following intermediate EU measures, which aim to help the EU meet its 2050 climate-neutrality objective.
Reducing net EU greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 55% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2030; in July 2021, the Commission tabled a set of legislative proposals upgrading existing EU legislation and including new initiatives in the implementation of this new target. It will thereafter monitor the progress of the legislative proposals to determine whether the new target will be achieved.
Limiting the contribution of net removals to a maximum of 225 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent to ensure sufficient mitigation efforts are made leading up to 2030. With the aim of enhancing the EU’s carbon sink* in line with the 2050 climate-neutrality objective, the regulation also provides for the EU to aim for a higher volume of its net carbon sink in 2030.
Allowing for the Commission to propose a climate target for 2040 within 6 months of the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement. The proposal is to be accompanied by a report containing the projected indicative EU greenhouse-gas budget for 2030-2050.
Requiring the Commission to report to the European Parliament and the Council, within 6 months of each global stocktake under the Paris Agreement, on the progress the EU and Member States are making towards meeting the objectives of the regulation.
Adaptation to climate change requires:
EU institutions and Member States to
- enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change
- ensure adaptation policies are coherent, mutually supportive, provide benefits for sectoral policies, help integrate these measures into all policy areas and focus especially on the most vulnerable people and sectors;
the Commission to adopt
- an EU adaptation strategy
- guidelines, by 30 July 2022, setting out common principles and practices to identify, classify and manage climate risk when planning, developing, executing and monitoring projects and programmes;
Member States to adopt and implement national adaptation strategies and plans, taking into account particularly vulnerable sectors such as agriculture, water and food systems and food security, along with the need to promote nature- and ecosystem-based solutions.
Assessment of EU and national progress requires the Commission to:
assess by 30 September 2023, and every 5 years thereafter, the progress that the EU and the Member States have made towards the 2050 and adaptation objectives, and whether the EU and national measures towards those objectives are consistent;
evaluate whether draft EU measures and legislation, including budgetary proposals, are consistent with the 2030 and 2040 targets and the 2050 climate-neutrality objectives;
regularly assess relevant national measures and issue recommendations to a Member State where it finds inconsistencies in ensuring the climate-neutrality objective or inadequate progress made towards enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.
The Commission engages with all:
parts of society, including the public, social partners and stakeholders, to enable and empower them to contribute towards a just, socially fair, climate-neutral and resilient society;
sectors of the economy that prepare indicative voluntary roadmaps towards climate neutrality.
The regulation amends:
Regulation (EC) No 401/2009 on the European Environment Agency and European Environment Information and Observation Network (see summary) and Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 on the governance of the Energy Union (see summary).
FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?
It has applied since 29 July 2021.
In December 2019, the European Council endorsed the objective of a climate-neutral EU by 2050 in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
On 4 March 2020, the Commission adopted its proposal for a European Climate Law as an important element of the European Green Deal (see summary).
EU action to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in a cost-effective way is already strongly developed. Between 1990 and 2019, emissions fell by 24%, while the economy grew by 60%. A major cornerstone of the EU’s climate policy is the emissions trading system set up by Directive 2003/87/EC (see summary).
For more information, see:
Greenhouse gases: any gas capable of absorbing infrared radiation from the earth’s surface and reradiating it back to earth.
Sink: a reservoir that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Regulation (EU) 2021/1119 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 2021 establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality and amending Regulations (EC) No 401/2009 and (EU) 2018/1999 (‘European Climate Law’) (OJ L 243, 9.7.2021, pp. 1-17)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — The European Green Deal (COM(2019) 640 final, 11.12.2019)
Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action, amending Regulations (EC) No 663/2009 and (EC) No 715/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Directives 94/22/EC, 98/70/EC, 2009/31/EC, 2009/73/EC, 2010/31/EU, 2012/27/EU and 2013/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 2009/119/EC and (EU) 2015/652 and repealing Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, pp. 1-77)
Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council — The Road from Paris: assessing the implications of the Paris Agreement and accompanying the proposal for a Council decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Paris agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COM(2016) 110 final, 2.3.2016)
Regulation (EC) No 401/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the European Environment Agency and the European Environment Information and Observation Network (Codified version) (OJ L 126, 21.5.2009, pp. 13-22)
Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC (OJ L 275, 25.10.2003, pp. 32-46)
See consolidated version.
last update 29.07.2021