FACTBOX-EU countries seek deals on laws to fight climate change

Brussels proposed even more ambitious targets last month to cut reliance on Russian fossil fuels, but ministers approved the original proposals and plan to consider the upgraded versions in later negotiations. Countries weakened other elements of the proposals, however, for example by delaying to 2035 from 2030 a proposed deadline for half of hydrogen used by industry to come from renewable sources, and making curbs on primary energy consumption voluntary, rather than binding.


Reuters | Updated: 28-06-2022 00:08 IST | Created: 28-06-2022 00:08 IST
FACTBOX-EU countries seek deals on laws to fight climate change

European Union countries will attempt to strike deals on a raft of new climate change policies this week, including tougher targets to expand renewable energy and a 2035 end to the sale of new fossil fuel-powered cars. Taken together, the laws are designed to deliver the 27-country bloc's target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030.

Brussels is touting the proposals as essential for replacing Russian fossil fuels with locally produced green energy. But with countries facing soaring inflation, draft agreements show some may be weaker than the European Commission's proposals. What ministers agree will set their position for upcoming negotiations with the EU Parliament to agree the final laws.

RENEWABLES, ENERGY SAVINGS Energy ministers on Monday agreed laws on more ambitious targets to expand renewable energy and save more power.

Ministers backed targets proposed by Brussels last year to derive 40% of energy from renewable sources and cut consumption by 9% against expected levels by 2030. Brussels proposed even more ambitious targets last month to cut reliance on Russian fossil fuels, but ministers approved the original proposals and plan to consider the upgraded versions in later negotiations.

Countries weakened other elements of the proposals, however, for example by delaying to 2035 from 2030 a proposed deadline for half of hydrogen used by industry to come from renewable sources, and making curbs on primary energy consumption voluntary, rather than binding. CARBON MARKET OVERHAUL

Environment ministers take up the negotiations on Tuesday. Their biggest task is to agree an upgrade of the EU's carbon market, its main emissions-cutting policy, which forces industry and power plants to buy CO2 permits when they pollute. Countries plan to accept core elements of the Commission's proposal - to speed up the reduction of the supply of permits each year and phase out free CO2 permits for industries by 2035, according to a draft agreement.

They may also back plans to add shipping to the scheme - albeit in 2027, a year later than Brussels proposed - and make it easier for the EU to intervene in response to CO2 price spikes. NEW CARBON MARKET

Among the most divisive proposals is a new EU carbon market imposing CO2 costs on polluting fuels used in buildings and transport. The scheme has split countries, with Germany among its supporters, while some central and eastern countries concerned it could raise household energy bills.

Any deal is expected to hinge on whether EU members can agree a new fund using revenues from the scheme to help poorer households switch to clean energy - with countries split over how big the fund should be, diplomats said. A draft compromise proposal, seen by Reuters, would also launch the new market in 2027. The European Commission had proposed 2026.

CLEAN CARS BY 2035 Transport produces a quarter of Europe's planet-heating emissions. The EU has proposed a 100% cut in CO2 emissions from new cars by 2035 - effectively banning new combustion engine car sales, unless carmakers can make them carbon-free.

This proposal faces tense talks after Germany's finance minister said last week the EU's biggest car market would not support it. Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania also proposed to delay the phase-out to 2040 and target for 2035 a 90% cut in car CO2 emissions instead. NATIONAL EMISSIONS TARGETS, CARBON SINKS

Ministers will also debate upgrades to the national targets Brussels sets to cut emissions in sectors, such as transport and buildings. They will consider a separate law requiring countries to cultivate forests, wetlands and improve soil health to store more CO2 in natural "carbon sinks".

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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