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EU agrees on law for 2050 net zero, 2030 target setting deferred

Friday, 23 October 2020

European Union environment ministers struck a deal on Friday to make the bloc’s 2050 net zero emissions target legally binding, but left a decision on a 2030 emissions-cutting target for leaders to discuss in December. 

The deal will fix in law the EU target to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and define the rules for reviewing progress towards climate targets. None of the 27 member countries rejected the bill, although Bulgaria abstained.

The law will give Brussels “the legal possibility to act when those who make promises don’t deliver on the promises,” said EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans at Friday’s meeting.

A decision on new 2030 targets, which was considered more contentious, was deferred to the end of the year.

The European Parliament, which together with EU countries must agree the final law, wants to make the target binding on each country. 

The price of EU ETS permits increased more than 5% on the news of the deal. The EU's climate targets are expected to tighten the supply of permits in the market.