While for several days, the United States and China have occupied the forefront of the international scene in the fight against the climate, it is the turn of the European Union to make announcements.
After several months of negotiations, MEPs and member states finally agreed, this Wednesday, April 21, 2021, on an objective of reducing CO² emissions within the European Union by 2030. It will finally be 55%. . The European Parliament demanded 60%.
According to Pascal Canfin, chairman of the environment and public health committee in the European Parliament, this agreement marks a turning point in the fight to keep the rise in temperatures at the level recommended in the Paris Agreement, i.e. below 2 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial era. He declared that: “this compromise places Europe in the most ambitious places in the world on the climate .” He then added that this law will make it possible: “ to go two and a half times faster in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases only in the decade that has just passed and chart the next thirty years of the continent's climate action ".
Chance of the calendar or not, the European Union did not intend to stand back on the eve of the virtual climate summit organized by Joe Biden and which will certainly be the occasion for strong announcements from the United States.
Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the Commission in charge of the European "Green Pact", was therefore delighted by declaring: " This is a historic moment for the EU (...). The agreement strengthens our position in the world as a leader in the fight against the climate crisis " . Enthusiasm relayed by the Portuguese Minister of the Environment, Joao Pedro Matos Fernandes, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, who sees in this agreement: "a strong signal to the whole world and an objective today engraved in the marble " .
In fact, this agreement should give birth to no less than 50 new laws between now and 2022; either existing laws which will be amended or entirely new. For example, we can cite the ban from 2035 on the marketing of thermal cars, increased use of renewable energies or a significant increase in the price of carbon, pushing it up to almost 60 euros per tonne. Thus, players in heavy industry which are the largest emitters of CO², such as steel, paper or glass, will be forced to review their economic models in order to make them eco-compatible.
However, it should be noted that the 55% at the heart of the agreement represents a European average and not an individual standard applied to each of the members. This means that some countries such as Sweden or Finland which are very advanced in their commitments against climate change and which should soon have a carbon neutral economy, will compensate for countries much further behind such as Poland which are still operating a very large fleet of coal-fired power stations. It is at the price of this solidarity that the most lagging countries will obtain the help and support necessary to free themselves from fossil fuels.
European Union, United States, China, three major poles are emerging in the fight against climate change. The race for carbon neutrality should not be long in coming.