By Marielle Joy Opana
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) backed plans for new compulsory cuts on greenhouse gas to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, after a parliament debate about the recent announcement of U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.
The European Union (EU) is said to be committed to these carbon cuts in line with the Paris Agreement, according to their official statement released on June 14.
The legislation also studies to break down the national emissions for sectors not under the EU carbon market that include agriculture, building, and transport and waste, which bring about 60% of the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Every EU member state requires following emission reduction pathway possibly starting in 2018, rather than 2020 as suggested by the European Commission, so as to avoid increasing emissions in its first few years or postponing their emission reductions.
The proposed regulation of the Commission would be the follow-up initiative of the Effort Sharing Decision that creates annual national GHG emission limits for 2013-2020.
MEPs also plans to reward member states with GDP per capita below EU average that have started or will implement action before 2020.
In assistance, the regulation allows each member states to lend up to 10% of the succeeding year’s allowance, decreasing it accordingly.
Trump’s withdrawal from Paris Agreement was discussed by the Parliament, along with Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
“The world is now watching Europe,” Heine said, further stressing the vulnerability of her country to climate change. “With an average elevation of two meters above sea level, there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide” against climate change, she said. (…) my country risks becoming completely uninhabitable before the century ends.”
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani (EPP, IT) also said: “Climate change is one the most pressing global challenges that we face today. (…) By addressing this challenge, the EU is creating new opportunities for our citizens and industry. (…) Simply put, the U.S. administration’s decision is a mistake. By working together with nations around the world we can successfully deliver a cleaner and safer planet to our citizens.”
EU lawmakers widely criticized the decision of Trump and declared that, even without the support of U.S., they will stick to their commitment and go ahead with their own climate legislation.