European Parliament supports tightening climate laws: polluter will pay 12:22 in Abroad These are laws that are part of the major climate package of European Commissioner Frans Timmermans.

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European Commissioner Frans Timmermans
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  • Kysia Hekster

    European Union correspondent

  • Rutger Mazel

    foreign editor

More European citizens and businesses will pay for the greenhouse gases they emit. This has been decided by the European Parliament in a vote. This legally stipulates that the European Union will emit 55 percent less greenhouse gases in 2030 than in 1990.

The European Parliament voted today on a major climate legislative package. These are laws that are part of the large climate package of the Dutch European Commissioner Frans Timmermans, which he presented in 2021.

‘Critical mood’

“This is a crucial vote for the climate and the European Green Deal,” responds Timmermans. “We are now very close to finalizing the Fit for 55 package, the package of measures that will put the EU on a path towards a greener future.”

“I am very pleased that we are putting a final snare around these ambitious climate laws,” said Mohammed Chahim (PvdA), who negotiated the package on behalf of the European Parliament. “With these laws we establish ‘climate frameworks’ and create clarity for the business community.”

MEP Esther de Lange (CDA) is also satisfied. “This is the largest climate legislation package in the EU ever. We are taking our responsibility and reducing CO2 emissions.”

Fewer emission allowances on the market

One of the laws is the further tightening of the emissions trading system (ETS). Trade works via CO2 rights: a company may only emit CO2 if it has the rights to do so. A company can also trade with the emission rights: if you produce in an economical manner, you can sell your other certificates to polluting companies that need extra rights. The aim is for companies to produce more sustainably.

Auction price European CO2 emission rights

With the tightening of this emissions trading system, fewer allowances will be put on the market, which means that the price of CO2 emissions will continue to rise. Due to an earlier tightening, fewer emission allowances were already in circulation in 2021, resulting in an increase in the price.

The number of emission allowances must be completely zero by 2040. The goal is therefore to eventually stop all emissions.

Prevent unfair competition

Another law stipulates that companies outside the EU must also contribute to reducing emissions. If they want to sell their stuff in the European Union, they must also pay for their emissions via a CO2 border levy (CBAM). This prevents unfair competition.

Mohammed Chahim speaks of killing two birds with one stone: “The legislation encourages countries and large companies outside the EU to go green. And it means that European companies do not move their production to the other side of the world, because they can emit for free there .”

European consumers will be directly affected by this legislation, because the EU also wants citizens to pay for the emissions released during road transport and heating homes. That is why the emissions trading system is being extended to buildings and vehicles.

In addition, filling stations and energy companies must have CO2 rights for their customers. They pass these costs on to their customers. The consumer notices this in his wallet, for example on his energy bill or at the pump.

In the end, we will all pay for our CO2 emissions

A Social Climate Fund will be set up to help people pay their higher energy bills. With the fund, EU countries can, for example, financially help households to become more sustainable.

Esther de Lange negotiated the fund on behalf of the European Parliament. “The Social Climate Fund helps the most vulnerable households to bear the impact of the expansion of the emissions trading system to buildings and transport. People are specifically helped to make the transition with, for example, vouchers for insulating houses or purchasing solar panels and heat pumps.”

Goal attainable?

MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen (SGP) has great hesitations about the level of ambition. “I’m afraid that in 2030 we will come to the conclusion that we have set an unattainable binding goal in the legislation. And then we will be legally trapped.” Ruissen wants more attention to the affordability of the plans: “Climate policy is necessary, but with an eye for the citizen and feasibility.”

The package of legislation aims to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030. The 27 EU member states are expected to sign it next week.

“Once that has happened, European climate policy will be in line with the 2030 goals in the climate law,” says Timmermans. “The EU thus becomes the first major economic bloc where the implementation of climate policy is equivalent to the agreed level of ambition.”

  • Brussels wants industry and citizens to pay for their emissions
  • Producers from outside Europe also have to pay for their CO2 emissions
  • European Commission presents ambitious climate laws: everyone will notice
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