An ambitious Climate Law in the EU

Michael Bloss
Opinion by Michael Bloss

The new European Climate Law breaks the EU’s Paris Agreement promises

The compromise climate target in the EU Climate Law will not meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. We can’t endorse a climate law that breaks all our climate promises, writes Micha Bloss MEP, Greens/EFA negotiator on the European Climate Law.


To mitigate the consequences of climate change in the limited time that we have, we need to take ambitious measures based on what scientists have determined is necessary to deal with the growing climate crisis. We need strong, legally binding emissions reductions targets, independent oversight to check that climate action is truly being taken, and proper financing to deal with this crisis.


The EU is on the verge of adopting the first ever  “Climate Law”, but the details of the law leave much to be desired and are far too weak.

In a nutshell:

After the European Parliament declared a climate emergency on November 28, 2019, the European Commission presented a draft “Climate law” but this was too weak, and was described by Greta Thunberg and young climate activists as a form of “surrender”.

We managed to push the European Parliament to adopt a more ambitious position, with higher climate targets, strong climate instruments and financing.

However, the EU governments in the Council are still blocking progress in the final negotiations. We think they need to listen to the elected representatives in the EU Parliament, to the scientists and to the activists, and to take a swift and ambitious decision to protect our planet.


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The Greens/EFA Group was pushing for a 65% emission reductions target, but in the European Parliament there was only a majority to go for a 60% reduction. However, even this is much better than that the EU governments’ position which is to stick to a reduction of only 55%. On top of it, this 55% isn’t real, it is based on accounting tricks.

To achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement the national pledges are not enough and the EU needs a more ambitious target for reducing emissions. In Germany, the Constitutional Court recently ruled that the government’s promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% (the same as in the EU law) was actually a violation of the rights and freedoms of the young people who took the case,  because it delays the real action needed to reach the Paris Agreement targets.

To deliver the climate ambition that is needed now more than ever, we need a system that monitors our progress and oversees our efforts in the crucial years ahead of us as we fight to save our Planet. Just as the budget of a household or a state needs to be carefully planned and assessed month by month, year by year, so does our greenhouse gas emission level, otherwise bold commitments will always remain empty promises. This is why we want to introduce a “Greenhouse Gas Budget”.

We also need to establish an independent scientific committee, or “European Climate Council” to oversee the EU’s progress towards climate neutrality, to monitor whether are keeping up with our commitments regarding emission reduction, and to supervise the EU’s greenhouse gas budget. The Climate Council should assess climate policy and determine what the damage to the climate will be if ambitious action is not taken in time.


  1. A strong climate target of at least a 60% cut in greenhouse gases by 2030 – without accounting tricks!
  2. A greenhouse gas budget that tells us how much we can still emit while staying within the 1.5 degree climate target. Based on this analysis, future climate targets such as the 2040 target must be set.
  3. An independent scientific climate council that keeps an eye on whether the EU is on track to meet its climate commitments.
  4. A ban on fossil fuel subsidies so that polluting industries no longer have the upper hand and clean solutions have a chance to drive the economy forward and make people’s lives better.
  5. A recognition of the legal right of all people to live on a healthy planet - and to sue governments (as well as the EU) if they fail to fulfil this right!



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Study - Achieving 60% emission reductions by 2030

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