Ribera: "The proposed European Climate Law is interesting but very improvable"

The Vice President for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, has valued the effort carried out by the European Commission to present her Climate Law proposal in less than a hundred days, but has considered that the proposal is "very improvable, and it needs to expand both in ambition and in focus. "

In her speech at the Council of Ministers of the Environment of the European Union (EU), the vice president has indicated that the proposed European Climate Law has given an "adequate signal", both to the Member States and to the private sector and investors, of the firm objective of climate neutrality to 2050 as a guide for all European policies. Although, he advocated that the objective of climate neutrality not only appears in the Law for the EU as a whole, but also for each of the Member States.

"The Climate Law must articulate the entire European response to the climatic emergency, therefore it must go beyond both content and ambition," Ribera stressed. The vice president explained that the new regulation should establish an institutional framework for decarbonization with a clear objective not only to 2050 but also to 2030. "In addition, it has to improve in the establishment of signals and incentives to promote climate action and attract investors, or in the creation of mechanisms to mainstream the objective of climate neutrality as a guide for all policies.

"We are facing a new European governance and we have to be able to include in this law new objectives, new sectors and non-state actors, in order to respond to the challenges we face," added Ribera. In his opinion, the current proposal lacks "concreteness, especially in the 2030 objectives, and more guidance on how they will articulate investments, transformations, industrial, energy or social measures that must be activated right now, in 2020 , to achieve climate neutrality in 2050 ".

In that line, Spain Last Tuesday he sent a letter to the Executive Vice President of the Commission, Frans Timmermans, together with Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden, asking the EU to present its evaluation to achieve a more ambitious emission reduction target by 2030 in the first half of This year, going from the current 40% compared to 1990 to 50 or 55% compared to the same date.

"This proposed Law is an interesting starting point, it seems to us that it is well established but that it can still be enriched given that it will be the framework norm that guides all European domestic and international policies in the coming decades," he added the vice president, who has encouraged citizens to participate in the public information process that has just opened.

Fair Transition Fund

Regarding the debate on the new Just Transition Mechanism, which includes a Fund to offer support to the regions and sectors most affected by the transition to climate neutrality, the vice president said that "it is positive that the Commission is taken seriously and make reference to those workers, those regions, which are affected by the transformation through the Fair Transition Fund ". A fund that is completed with other structural mechanisms such as the European Social Fund, the Youth and Employment Fund, or the Cohesion Fund.

For Spain, the Fair Transition Fund "is still very improvable", since the indicators chosen by the commission reduce the weight of the coal zones over other European industrial zones.

Ribera has requested in the Council of Ministers of the EU that "countries that can benefit from this fund be required a clear commitment to decarbonization, with objectives to 2030 and 2050; that the allocation of funds clearly take the reference of which are the levels of unemployment and the transformations that are being lived in the zones affected by the closing of the coal ".

European Green Pact

The EU Environment Ministers have also discussed the European Green Pact, a document that must become the new growth strategy for the region and that places, for the first time, the environmental and climate agenda at the highest level.

In addition to a medium-term emission reduction objective that is consistent with climate neutrality in 2050, Ribera has highlighted the industrial and agricultural sectors as priority areas of action within the European Green Pact. The vice president believes that these sectors must be accompanied to be able to modernize, be more efficient and adapt to the impacts of climate change; align taxation with climate objectives, taxing activities that harm the environment; and stop the loss of biodiversity as a high priority. "

In this regard, Spain considers a European strategy on biodiversity "clearly ambitious" necessary, with commitments and objectives for the conservation of habitats and species, but not only, new regulations on biodiversity are also necessary.

On the other hand, in the discussion on the new Action Plan for the Circular Economy, also included in the European Green Pact, Spain is committed to strengthening actions in key sectors such as textiles, construction and demolition, and the automotive industry; for promoting ecodesign and for paying special attention to the environmental impact of chemical substances.

Long term strategy

The EU Council of Ministers has also adopted the European Union's Long Term Decarbonization Strategy, which must be submitted to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the first months of this year. The elaboration of these strategies is included in the Paris Agreement, which establishes 2020 for its presentation.

The European Strategy must ensure the achievement of climate neutrality in 2050, an objective approved by the European Council on 12 December, making Europe the first carbon-neutral continent.

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