European Parliament pushes for greener targets in new climate law

Brussels – The European Parliament has backed plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2030 – setting up a potential fight with coal-reliant EU member nations.

The EU currently has a bloc-wide target of a 40-per-cent reduction by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

Climate law package

Wednesday’s vote, published early on Thursday, provides the basis for the parliament’s negotiations with EU leaders.

The emissions goal component was already passed with a narrow majority on Tuesday; the parliamentarians approved the climate law package in its entirety on Wednesday.

Proposal isn’t legally binding

But while the parliamentarians want a tougher climate law, the proposal is a long way from becoming legally binding. EU governments still have to approve it – which is far from certain given the highly political nature of the issue.

Some countries claim that their industries prohibit them from cutting their emissions too much. Poland, for example, is heavily reliant on the coal industry.

The new proposal also puts the parliament on a different page from the European Commission – the EU’s executive body – which last month proposed a cut of “at least 55 per cent.”

The cuts to greenhouse gases are seen as essential in slowing down climate change, but politicians, environmentalists and industrialists disagree on how aggressive the target should be.