Climate change and environmental degradation are an existential threat to Europe and the world. Therefore in December 2019 the Commission presented a communication on a European Green Deal that sets out a detailed vision to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, safeguard biodiversity, establish a circular economy and eliminate pollution, while boosting the competitiveness of European industry and ensuring a just transition for the regions and workers affected.
Parliament has played an important role in pushing for more ambitious EU climate legislation and declared a climate emergency on 28 November 2019. The European Climate Law writes into law the goal to become climate neutral by 2050 and attain the intermediate target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels). After 2050 the EU will aim for negative emissions. In July 2021 the European Commission presented its “Fit for 55 in 2030” package-the legislative tool to deliver on the targets agreed in the European Climate law.
The EP adopted the new Nature restoration law during its February plenary. The new law sets a target for the EU to restore at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. The EU nature restoration law, agreed with member states, will restore degraded ecosystems in all member states, help achieve the EU’s climate and biodiversity objectives and enhance food security.
To reach the overall EU targets, member states must restore at least 30% of habitats covered by the new law (from forests, grasslands and wetlands to rivers, lakes and coral beds) from a poor to a good condition by 2030, increasing to 60% by 2040, and 90% by 2050. In line with Parliament’s position, EU countries should give priority to Natura 2000 areas until 2030. Once in a good condition, EU countries shall ensure an area does not significantly deteriorate. Member states will also have to adopt national restoration plans detailing how they intend to achieve these targets.
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