EU reaches new agreement to limit emissions

European Union governments and lawmakers reached an agreement on Sunday on key elements of the 27-nation bloc’s green deal, reforming the EU’s trading system on greenhouse gas emissions and creating created a new hardship fund for those most affected by climate change mitigation measures.

The two sides agreed to push European industries and energy companies to cut emissions by accelerating the phasing out of pollution-free vouchers. Doing so makes every ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere more expensive for polluters.

The EU executive committee said the measure would require European industries to reduce emissions by 62 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels, compared with a target of 43 per cent under previous rules.

To ensure a level playing field, the EU will also impose taxes on foreign companies that want to import products that do not meet the climate protection standards that European companies must comply with. The so-called Carbon Border Regulatory Mechanism was agreed last week.

Governments and the European Parliament also agreed to expand the bloc’s emissions trading system to pay for road traffic and heating of buildings from 2027. This will likely drive up gas prices. , natural gas and other fossil fuels to consumers, providing an impetus to switch for cleaner alternatives.

The agreement includes an emergency provision allowing a one-year deferment of the introduction if energy costs are particularly high.

In light of the current energy crisis that has caused inflation in Europe and beyond, negotiators have agreed to establish a social climate fund to help vulnerable households and small businesses. vulnerable to higher fuel costs arising from the new measures.

The fund includes tens of billions of euros that will be phased in from 2026 and filled with proceeds from the auction of emissions vouchers.

Czech Environment Minister Marian Jurecka, whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said: “We can now safely say that the EU has delivered on its promises with ambitious legislation and regulation. This puts us at the forefront of fighting climate change globally.”

The interim agreement needs to be formally approved by Parliament and EU governments. This is part of the bloc’s broader `Fit 55′ package, which aims to help the EU cut emissions by 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels and achieve “net zero” by mid-century.

Separately on Sunday, the countries that are part of the North Sea Energy Cooperation Organization are expected to sign an agreement with the UK to work together to expand the construction of wind and power plants. offshore. The deal also envisages cooperation in hydrogen production with renewable energy.

The UK, which left the North Sea Energy Cooperation agreement when it leaves the EU in 2020, has the largest offshore wind power installation capacity in Europe. With further expansion planned, the UK could become a major exporter of wind energy to mainland Europe in the future.

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