The EU Parliament votes on important climate laws

Can the EU implement the Commission’s ambitious climate package? The EU Parliament is facing an important vote – the challenge is just as huge as the scope of the planned measures.


This Wednesday, the EU Parliament will decide on important laws that are intended to implement the European Union’s climate goals. Many proposals have been controversial and could still be watered down.

The background to this are proposals by the EU Commission to increase climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 by 90 percent and become carbon neutral by 2050. Parliament is now defining its positions. In order for the laws to come into force, EU states and the European Parliament must agree in a last step.

Possible end for combustion engines

Around 20 percent of EU CO2 emissions are caused by road traffic, as Liberal MEP Jan Huitema points out. It is still uncertain whether the sale of combustion engines will be completely prohibited from 2032 or whether certain exceptions will be permitted. The so-called fleet limits for cars and vans should drop to zero – which means that the new cars should not emit any CO2 when driving. Since no crediting of synthetic fuels is planned, this would mean the end for the combustion engine.

The CDU MP Jens Gieseke, on the other hand, like the Association of the Automotive Industry, is in favor of the possibility that these actually climate-friendly fuels can also be used for cars and vans. Green MP Michael Bloss, on the other hand, says: “If we pour the e-fuels into the citizens’ car tanks, they will not be available on ships and planes, where we already do not know where we are getting them from.” It is unclear how the vote will go. Some even advocate that the limit values ​​be increased by 90 instead of 100 percent be reduced.

Expansion of emissions trading

At the heart of EU climate policy is emissions trading, which means that you have to pay for the emission of climate-damaging gases such as CO2. The system is now to be extended to buildings and traffic. Until recently, this was hotly debated because it was feared that consumers would then have to pay even more for heating and driving. In Germany and other EU countries, these areas are already part of emissions trading.

Members of the environment committee recently agreed that corporations should pay for the emission of climate-damaging gases from commercial buildings and commercial traffic from 2025. Private households would initially be excluded. Only when energy prices have fallen and households are already receiving money from a new climate social fund should they be added from 2029.

The allocation of free certificates for CO2 emissions to certain companies was also disputed until the very end. This is intended to help competitiveness as long as other regions of the world do not have CO2 pricing. There are suggestions no more free certificates from 2030, 2032 or 2035. to be distributed.

Border Adjustment Mechanism for Carbon Emissions

MEPs also vote on a carbon price for foreign manufacturers. This would be calculated based on the CO2 emissions during production. There would be a discount if the greenhouse gas emissions had already been paid for in the home country. This should lead to comparable costs for imported goods and products produced in the EU, since EU manufacturers are already paying for the emission of climate-damaging gases via the ETS.

At the same time, other countries should be persuaded to also introduce stricter climate measures. Initially, cement, iron and steel, aluminium, fertilizers and electricity are to be regulated. It is disputed when the system should come into force.

Afforestation another topic

Plants bind CO2 when they grow – the greenhouse gas can therefore be bound through afforestation and other measures. Concrete targets should be set here, how much CO2 should disappear in so-called sinks.

For some, like Green Party politician Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg, that doesn’t go far enough. She calls for guidelines on how the goal should be implemented in the EU countries. The CDU MP Norbert Lins welcomes the storage goals, but also emphasizes that forests must continue to be used economically. (dpa)

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