The European Union is aiming to clinch deals on three new laws to fight climate change in time for the annual United Nations climate negotiations next month, in a bid to boost its political clout at the talks.
Nearly 200 countries agreed at last year’s U.N. COP26 negotiations to upgrade their climate pledges by this year’s summit, to bridge the gap between their current plans and the far faster reduction in greenhouse gas emissions needed to avert disastrous climate change.
But two weeks away from the COP27 summit in Egypt, only around two dozen countries have done so. The 27-country EU will decide on Monday whether to commit to raise its own target, although countries disagree on whether to agree to do this by a certain date, or at all.
Meanwhile, the EU has agreed to speed up negotiations on three emissions-cutting laws, so it can arrive at the U.N. summit with newly ambitious climate policies, EU officials told Reuters.
“The EU has to be the bridge builder and you can only build bridges if you are seen as ambitious yourself,” EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said on Monday.
The policies being fast-tracked are a law to ban sales of new fossil fuel cars in the EU by 2035, expand Europe’s natural CO2-absorbing “sinks” like forests, and set binding national emissions-cutting goals.
They are part of a bigger package of policies being negotiated by EU countries and the European Parliament, designed to deliver the bloc’s overall goal to cut net emissions by 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels.
The CO2 sinks law, in particular, is seen as a roundabout way of hiking the EU’s climate target, because if achieved, it could cut countries’ overall net emissions by 57%, according to EU lawmakers.
Ville Niinisto, Parliament’s negotiator on the law, said having a deal before COP27 would show the EU “will do more than we promised”.
Jessica Polfjard, Parliament’s negotiator on the national emissions-cutting targets, said she wanted a good deal rather than a quick deal. “At this stage I remain confident that I can deliver both.”