MEPs have voted to support a 60% emissions reduction target for 2030 in what is seen as a significant victory for progressive forces in the European Parliament in the fight against global warming. 

A knife-edge vote of 352 for, 326 against and 18 abstentions saw the Parliament demanding more ambition compared to the Commission’s proposal of 55% to be enshrined in the new European Climate Law, as part of the European Green Deal. 

Today’s outcome, while laudable particularly in light of joint efforts of the right-wing EPP, climate denialists and the fossil fuel industry to undermine effective climate action, still falls short of the 65% reduction scientifically needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. 

While the Left has consistently called for a 70% emissions reduction by 2030, MEP Silvia Modig (Vasemmistoliitto, Finland) sees today’s result as an important step forward: 

Today’s decision-makers have the opportunity and the responsibility to make decisions to tackle climate change. Future decision-makers will no longer have this opportunity because time is running out.

“The European Parliament has agreed to a 60% emissions reduction target for 2030. This is a clear message from the Parliament: we want to make the Commission’s proposal more ambitious.

“We are still falling short on science. Studies show clearly that we need at least 65% emissions reduction by 2030. This is why the Left has pursued a 70% target.

“Nevertheless, the Parliament’s decision is far better than the Commission’s proposal. Especially if the calculation is done with net emissions as the Commission now proposes. The trilogue negotiations ahead will be difficult.

“Climate change is real. If we do not make sufficient decisions now, its economic and human cost will be enormous. Too low of an ambition today means that we will have to adjust our climate targets strongly upwards in the years to come. This is much harder and more costly for everyone,” Modig concluded. 

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