Amended Proposal for a Regulation establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality (European Climate Law)

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2020) 563
Publication Date 17/09/2020
Content Type


Legislative initiative initially tabled by the European Commission in March 2020, aimed at writing into law the goal set out in the European Green Deal relating to climate neutrality by 2050. An amended proposal was adopted on 17 September to reflect a revised target for reducing in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This proposal aims to amend Regulation (EU) 2018/1999.

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The Communication setting out the European Green Deal launched a new growth strategy for the European Union (EU). The European Green Deal also reaffirms the European Commission's ambition to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Tackling climate change is seen as an urgent challenge, one which requires the EU to step its action to show global leadership by setting such target, covering all sectors of the economy and compensating, by 2050, not only any remaining CO2 but also any other remaining greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as set out in the 2018 Communication on 'A Clean Planet for All'.

This proposal aims to establish the framework for achieving EU climate neutrality. It aims to provide a direction by setting a pathway to climate neutrality, and enhance certainty and confidence on this commitment. To this end, it puts forward legally-binding target net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This would mean achieving such a target for Member States of the European Union (EU) as a whole. The proposed law aims to ensure that all policies contribute to this goal and that all sectors of the economy and society play their part. It includes measures to keep track of progress and adjust actions accordingly. Progress is to be reviewed every five years.

This initiative was first unveiled as the European Green Deal was published in November 2019, and a public discussion was launched in January 2020 through a high-level public conference on 'Implementing the European Green Deal - the European Climate Law'. A public consultation on a future European Climate Pact was also launched alongside the legislative initiative.

The proposal was formally adopted by the Commission on 4 March 2020. On the same day, the relevant committee of the European Parliament held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the proposal which was attended by Greta Thunberg. This committee adopted on 10 September 2020 its position on the initiative. On 17 September, the European Commission tabled an amended proposal to reflect a revised target for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as stated in the so-called 2030 Climate Target Plan.

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Commentary and Analysis
Politico, 04/03/2020: Brussels’ climate ambitions run into national resistance
EurActiv: Special Reports, March 2020: Europe’s new Climate Law: Leaving no-one behind?
Eversheds Sutherland: Articles, 23/03/2020: Delivering climate neutrality- the European Climate Law
Maastricht University: Law Blog, 30/03/2020: The European climate law: too much power for the Commission?
EPRS: Briefing, April 2020: European climate law
Greenpeace, 28/04/2020: EU Parliament lead negotiator backs 65% climate emission cuts by 2030 Policy & Economics, 18/06/2020: The EU Climate Law: Europe’s Man on the Moon Moment?
Confederation of Finnish Industries: Blog, 02/07/2020: Nordic discussion on the role of business in reaching the objectives of climate action and economic recovery,commitments%20to%20the%20Paris%20agreement.
LSE: Grantham Institute: Policy Publication, 03/09/2020: The design of an independent expert advisory mechanism under the European Climate Law: What are the options?
EurActiv, 07/09/2020: A ‘solidarity clause’ in the EU climate law
World Wide Fund for Nature: European Office, 09/09/2020: Will MEPs turn ‘climate emergency’ words into a climate law that works?
Politico, 10/09/2020: 4 things to know about the EU’s battle to cut emissions

The Guardian, 29/11/2019: Proposed EU-wide 'climate law' would set net-zero carbon target by 2050
EUObserver, 29/01/2020: Timmermans: EU climate law will 'discipline' rogue states
Reuters, 02/03/2020: Environment groups say EU's planned climate law means a lost decade
Associated Press, 03/03/2020: Greens, Thunberg say EU climate law lacks ambition
The Guardian, 04/03/2020: Focus on coronavirus shows need for climate law, says EU official
The New York Times, 04/03/2020: E.U. Proposes a Climate Law. Greta Thunberg Hears ‘Empty Words.’
Associated Press, 04/03/2020: EU commission unveils climate law amid criticism
EurActiv, 04/03/2020: EU’s Timmermans responds to Greta’s criticisms over European Climate Law
BBC News, 04/03/2020: Greta Thunberg brands EU's new climate law 'surrender'
EUObserver, 04/03/2020: EU climate law slammed for delaying action
Politico, 04/03/2020: Greta Thunberg rains on EU climate law parade
EurActiv, 05/03/2020: EU’s next top climate model under scrutiny
Reuters, 08/05/2020: European lawmakers to consider tougher climate law: draft
EurActiv, 29/05/2020: EU lawmakers debate 65% climate target proposal
Reuters, 10/09/2020: EU Parliament's environment committee votes to support 60% EU emissions cut by 2030
EurActiv, 11/09/2020: EU lawmakers up the ante, vote for 60% climate target for 2030

EUR-Lex: COM(2020)80: Proposal for a Regulation establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality (European Climate Law)
European Commission: DG Climate Action: European Climate Law
European Commission: High-level public conference on implementing the European Green Deal - the European Climate Law (28 January 2020)
European Commission: Press Release, 04/03/2020: Committing to climate-neutrality by 2050: Commission proposes European Climate Law and consults on the European Climate Pact
European Commission: Questions and answers on the European Climate Law and Climate Pact (4 March 2020)
European Commission: Press remarks by President von der Leyen on the occasion of the adoption of the European Climate Law (4 March 2020)
European Commission: College read-out on the European Climate Law by Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans (4 March 2020)
European Parliament: Press Release, 04/03/2020: Greta Thunberg to MEPs: 'we will not allow you to surrender our future'
S&D Group: Press Release, 10/09/2020: S&Ds: a great first victory today on Climate Law that lets the EU take a step in the direction of carbon neutrality
European Parliament: Press Release, 11/09/2020: EU climate law: MEPs want to increase emission reductions target to 60% by 2030
Greens/EFA Group: Dossier: All About the EU Climate Law

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