Net zero by 2050: Europarl’s emissions goal

net zero by 2050
© iStock/Boonyachoat

The European Parliament’s Environment and Industry Committees have presented a range of proposals to reduce harmful emissions in the EU.

Under the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement, the EU has pledged to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 in order to limit the rise in global temperature and combat climate change. The Environment Committee recommended the current target of 40 per cent emission reduction by 2030, in comparison to 1990 levels, be raised to 55 per cent to accelerate the net zero process; and urged Member States’ leaders to encourage raising existing reduction targets at their May 2019 summit in Sibiu, Romania.

Committee members endorsed emissions reduction strategies which would augment natural carbon sinks and reservoirs, such as reforestation; and recommended relatively untested carbon removal technologies be used only where no other option for direct emissions reduction techniques could be deployed.

MEPs on the Industry Committee, meanwhile, highlighted the benefits of widespread transition to renewable energy sources in the effort to eliminate net emissions by 2050. Their proposal encouraged EU leaders to work towards actively promoting clean energy transition and energy efficiency; and noted that increased investment in clean energy innovation projects would boost job opportunities in the field, as well as overall industrial growth.

At a separate event, Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who pioneered school strikes for climate awareness, told the European Economic and Social Committee yesterday: “We need to protect the biosphere, the air, the oceans, the soil, the forests. Our political leaders have wasted decades through denial and inaction. Not only do we need new policies, we also need a whole new way of thinking. Our political system is all about competition: you cheat when you can, because all you want to get is power. This must change. We just want politicians to listen to the scientists…we are not fighting for the future of young generations only, we are fighting for everybody’s future. We have started to clean up this mess and we will not stop until we are done.”

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