Fit for 55: EU rolls out largest ever legislative package in pursuit of climate goal
- Posted By
19th Jul, 2021
The European Commission recently adopted the Fit for 55 package, which aims to revise the EU’s current 2030 climate and energy rules.
Last year, the world saw a record $50 billion worth of damages from extreme weather disasters exacerbated by the climate crisis.
- These extreme climate disasters were also the primary driver for pushing nearly 16 million people into crisis levels of food insecurity.
- This year, the climate crisis, coupled with Covid-19 and conflict, drove 20 million more people into extreme hunger, reaching a total of 155 million people in 55 countries.
In December 2020, the European Union submitted a revised Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement. This latest Commission’s proposal is an opportunity to help meet climate and biodiversity objective.
What exactly is in the plan?
- The European Commission’s plan, “Fit for 55,” calls for its 27 member states to cut their output of greenhouse gases by 55% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.
- It will align EU policy with the ambitious political mandates of the Green Deal and EU Climate Law.
- The European Union’s plan is to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by more than half by the end of the decade.
How would it work?
The plan will enable the necessary acceleration of greenhouse gas emission reductions in the next decade.
- They combine:
- application of emissions trading to new sectors and a tightening of the existing EU Emissions Trading System
- increased use of renewable energy; greater energy efficiency
- a faster roll-out of low emission transport modes and the infrastructure and fuels to support them
- an alignment of taxation policies with the European Green Deal objectives
- measures to prevent carbon leakage
- tools to preserve and grow our natural carbon sinks
What is required to achieve the plan?
Oxfam estimates that cuts of more than 65% are needed for Europe to contribute its fair share of the global reductions needed to get on track to limit global heating to the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.
How would this transition impact the different sectors?
- Impact on overall economy: The plan will touch almost every industry in the trade bloc, with profound consequences for jobs and the bloc’s economy.
- Integration of new technologies: Furthermore, the climate package could put Europe at the forefront of new technologies like electric car batteries, offshore wind generation or aircraft engines that run on hydrogen.
- Increase in cost: The transition can impact the companies and consumers by raising the cost of a wide variety of goods and services (video monitors imported from China, for example, or a vacation flight to a Greek island or even a full tank of gasoline).
- Compulsory adoption: Companies that make products destined for obsolescence, like parts for internal combustion engines, must adapt or go out of business.
What are India’s plans to achieve its emission’s targets?
India is the world’s third-biggest carbon emitter after China and the United States
- As part of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted under the Paris Agreement, India has taken three quantitative climate change goals.
- First: reduction in the emissions intensity of GDP by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 level.
- India aims to achieve its target of reducing 35 per cent emissions intensity of its GDP well before the year 2030.
- Emission intensity is the volume of emissions per unit of GDP.
- India has already achieved its voluntary target of reducing emissions intensity of its GDP by 21 per cent over 2005 levels by 2020.
- Second: achieving about 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030.
- Third: creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
Recent initiatives to reduce emissions
- In July 2020, India railways announced plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2030. This follows a target to achieve complete electrification of its network by 2023.
- Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) emission norms
- UJALA scheme
- National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC)
- National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)
- International Solar Alliance
How EU’s plan is ahead of other countries?
United States: The European Union’s target is more aggressive than that of the United States, which committed to reduce emissions by 40% to 43% over the same period.
- Britain: Also, the plan is behind Britain, which pledged a 68% reduction.
- China: China (the world’s largest emitter, has only said it aims for emissions to peak by 2030.
Where does the proposal lack?
The proposal includes no new elements to address the use of unsustainable crop-based biofuels in transport, leaving open the possibility of using food for fuel.
- The proposal also fails to account for emissions from indirect land-use change arising from deforestation and peatland degradation induced by the increased demand for bioenergy.
- Achieving these emission reductions of the proposal in the next decade is crucial to Europe becoming the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and making the European Green Deal a reality.