“Fit for 55” goals of the EU: Get climate-fit – as quickly as possible

As of: 12/28/2021 5:03 a.m.

The EU wants to fight climate change with its “Fit for 55” legislative package. But the member states want to implement the goals formulated in it in very different ways. Time is of the essence.

By Jakob Mayr, ARD-Studio Brussels

2021 was not a bad year for international climate protection: The European Union has made it clear how it intends to achieve its ambitious goals, and many other countries have set themselves goals for the first time – including the two biggest climate sinners, China and the USA. EU Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans drew a positive balance after the world climate summit in Glasgow in November: “Two years ago we Europeans were alone. The USA was ruled by a climate denier, China did not want to do anything. Now everyone is setting themselves the goal of becoming climate neutral. ” The EU wants to achieve this by 2050 – the bottom line is that they do not emit more climate-damaging gases than are saved.

Jakob Mayr
ARD studio Brussels

In order to get Europe on the right track, the EU Commission has presented a whole package of laws that would deeply affect the way of life and economy of 450 million people: no more new cars with internal combustion engines from 2035, more charging stations for e-cars , an emissions trading scheme for traffic and buildings, the obligation to renovate buildings, a social fund to support poor families and small companies.

Thrust from Germany and France?

The 27 member states and the EU Parliament must now discuss this – as quickly as possible, because time is of the essence, says Commission head Ursula von der Leyen: “We have this decade to really set the decisive course. Of course, it is in the hands of the individual States themselves. And there is a race between knowledge and enthusiasm for implementation. ”

But it is not great in all EU countries. Eastern European countries are critical of Brussels’ climate package – above all a new emissions trading scheme that would make oil, gas and fuel more expensive when energy prices are at record highs anyway. In Poland, Audrey Mathieu from the environmental and development organization Germanwatch is also hearing new, positive tones. Other actors would have to take advantage of that, she says: “It is precisely these small but positive signals that Germany and France should take up in order to change the perception of Poland a little and involve this country in the bilateral coordination processes at eye level at an early stage, so that the negotiations faster and move forward more constructively. “

According to its own statements, the new federal government wants to actively support Brussels’s climate plans. France needs success during its EU presidency in the first half of the year. After all, the climate agreement on which the world is guided was sealed six years ago in Paris. Matthias Buck from the Agora Energiewende think tank has a lot of confidence in the French – for example, when it comes to protecting Europe’s industry from foreign competition with lower climate standards by means of a compensation mechanism: “On the one hand, they will try to create a political pre-determination for the very The other important point from the French point of view is the planned expansion of emissions trading to transport and buildings. I expect France to try to reach preliminary decisions during its presidency. ”

Goal: convince at the climate summit

Member states and the EU Parliament could have discussed the proposals individually by the summer. Then they have to find compromises with each other and with the Commission. If everything goes well, the EU will travel to the next world climate summit in Egypt in November with a halfway tied package – the more convincing it is, the more likely other countries will join in.

At the summit, it will be calculated how big the gap is to the Paris goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees if possible. Accordingly, governments must sharpen their national goals. In the EU, according to Agora expert Buck, there has long been no discussion about where to go – “but about which specific measures in Europe will become binding for member states and companies in order to actually achieve our significantly higher climate protection goals.”

They envisage reducing Europe’s emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Brussels has therefore called its climate plans “Fit for 55”. But first the EU has to prove that it is fit for 22.

Climate protection: is the EU fit for 22?

Jakob Mayr, ARD Brussels, 23.12.2021 11:55 a.m.


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