Last week, the European Parliament voted to phase out certain subsidies that encourage production and use of wood energy––the largest source of renewable energy in Europe (New York Times).
Last Wednesday, the European Union’s (EU’s) executive branch announced an emergency plan to reduce natural gas consumption in preparation for energy shortages this winter and shifting the bloc away from dependence on Russian energy (Reuters). The plan demands that between August 1 and March 31 each EU country must ration gas and decrease consumption by 15% (New York Times).
The European Commission proposed a law at the end of February that would hold companies in the European Union (EU) accountable for environmental and human rights violations throughout their supply chains. The Corporate Due Diligence law will be discussed and modified by the EU Parliament and 27 Member governments over the next year. The draft released in February would apply to about 13,000 EU companies, those with more than 500 employees and annual revenue above approximately $170 million.
After over a year of debate and lobbying, the European Commission revealed its proposal to designate nuclear power and natural gas as “sustainable” in the European Union’s (EU's) sustainable finance taxonomy.
On October 15, European Union (EU) leaders agreed that they should move to increase their climate emissions reduction goal but have yet to commit to a specific target. Currently, the EU has pledged to achieve full carbon neutrality by 2050, with an interim goal of cutting emissions by 40% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2030.
On August 5, the European Commission declared its intention to introduce new legislation to quell the use of fossil fuels in the aviation sector, initiating a public consultation on the matter. The creation of these measures comes as part of the European Green Deal, which has committed the European Union (EU) to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
On June 30, the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreed to shift the baseline year for CORSIA, a landmark carbon emissions offsetting scheme for airlines, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on the industry. CORSIA, set to begin in 2021, requires airlines to buy credits to offset carbon emissions from international flights that exceed the baseline of average emissions in 2019-2020. The airline industry argued that using 2020 in the benchmark calculation would artificially lower the offset ceiling due to huge declines in flights this year.
European leaders have called for green investments in their coronavirus recovery plans, citing the need for clean air and a circular economy to rebuild resilience. On April 15, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reaffirmed strong support for the European Green Deal, which aims for zero carbon emissions in the European Union (EU) bloc by 2050.
European Union leaders will push for a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at an upcoming summit December 12-13, according to a draft statement released December 2. Previous efforts to endorse climate neutrality have been blocked by Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, who rely heavily on coal (Reuters).
At a European Union (EU) summit on June 20, efforts led by France and Germany for the 28-member EU to agree to a 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target was blocked by three central European countries. The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland refused to sign on to the agreement, which is projected to require the bloc to invest an additional 175 billion to 290 billion euros per year in clean energy technology. The summit was the last chance to agree to the target before global climate talks in September.