BusinessDay

EU plans ambitious new laws to phase out Fossil Fuels

The European Union is planning new laws to phase out coal as an electricity source and wean their economy off fossil fuels as well as imposing tariffs on polluting imports

The European Commission’s package of around a dozen legislative proposals, expected on Wednesday, is designed to cut the emissions of planet-warming gases and meet an ambitious climate goal, of cutting its emissions of greenhouse gases by 55 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

The proposals, known as “Fit for 55,” will take many months to negotiate among the 27 member countries and the European Parliament before becoming law.

The most contentious element is something called a border carbon adjustment tax. It would impose tariffs on the greenhouse gas emissions associated with products imported from outside the European Union and, in effect, would protect European companies from goods made in countries with less stringent climate policies.

Read also: Nigeria can’t be a fossil fuel economy in a world of net-zero carbon

This carbon border tax could not only shake up global trade and invite a dispute over protectionism in the World Trade Organization, it could also create new diplomatic fault lines ahead of international climate talks taking place in Glasgow in November according to the New York Times.

The gathering in Glasgow is an important moment for big emitter-nations to show what they will do to address the emissions of greenhouse gases that have set the world on a path to dangerous warming. Scientists have said the world as a whole needs to halve emissions by 2030, which would require history’s biggest polluters, namely the United States and Europe, to make the sharpest, swiftest cuts.

The timing of the European draft legislation is key, designed to highlight Europe’s position on advancing climate policies and put pressure on other major emitters, including China and the United States.

“This will be the first attempt to say that it’s not only numbers we commit to, but we have a set of policies, very precise policies,” Laurence Tubiana, the head of the European Climate Foundation and the former chief climate negotiator for France in the United Nations climate talks, to the New York Times in an emailed statement.

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