The EU’s ‘Fitfor55’ package
No, ‘Fitfor55’ is not a new fitness programme for 55-year old people, but EU newspeak for a package of legislative proposals to implement the recently adopted promise by the member states to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990. The package which is to be officially presented on 14 July includes the revision of the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) directive, the Renewable Energy directive, the directives for Energy Efficiency and Energy Taxation, and many other pieces of existing climate and environmental legislation. A good overview of all related proposals can be found on the European Parliament’s ‘Legislative Train Schedule’ website.
Hereunder are some of the reactions from industry, NGOs or think tanks:
- Climate Strategy (consultancy for industry): Open letter to the Commission (May 2021)
- WWF: ‘Fit for 55%: what is it and what does WWF want? (March 2021)
- Agora (German/European think tank): 10 benchmarks for a successful July Fit for 55 package (May 2021)
How green are the EU member states recovery plans?
At the beginning of May, the European Commission had received the Recovery and Resilience Plans of 14 member states which will now be assessed by Brussels in order to fund the policies needed to recover from the covid pandemic’s economic and social impacts and implement the green transition to a low-carbon and digital economy.
The think tanks Wuppertal Institute and E3G – Third Generation Environmentalism created a special website ‘Green Recovery Tracker” to analyse how much the country plans are in line with the aim of greening the recovery and tackling the climate emergency.
The website shows for each country how much money of the recovery plans is spent on greening, and which economic sectors are getting the recovery funds.
On 30 April, E3G published a provisional analysis of the overall findings, indicating that member states are ‘falling short of ambitions to ‘build back better’. According to the press release of the think tank, the planned measures in 14 member states have a ‘spending share of just 24% with only EUR 68 billion going to activities that fully support the green transition”.
Is ‘ecocide’ an international crime against humanity?
Increasingly, campaigns are hotting up to have ‘ecocide’ being recognised as an international crime. The word ‘ecocide’ comes from Latin and Greek and means ‘killing our home’. It is being used by lots of climate campaigners, scientists and lawyers to indicate that there should be laws to prohibit the worst environmental crimes which could endanger the survival of humanity in the long run. An international campaign Stop Ecocide was launched in 2017 with the aim of making ecocide a crime before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Several countries (Finland, Belgium, Spain) have expressed their support for this campaign and in France, President Macron proposed an ecocide law, which is making its way through the French Assemblée.
- The Guardian: To stop climate disaster, make ecocide an international crime. It's the only way
- Völkerrechtsblog (Internationa Law blog): Defining Ecocide – an interview with Philippe Sands (April 2021)
Big win for climate court case in Germany
On 29 April, the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) declared that the German Climate Law on greenhouse gas emission reduction before 2030 violated the fundamental rights of the young generations (some of which started this case against the German government). As a result of this landmark court ruling, the German government announced a few days later that it will strengthen its policies in the future (to 65% emissions reduction by 2030, 85-90% by 2040 and net zero emissions by 2045, compared to 1990 levels).
This case confirms again that climate litigation is increasingly going to influence governments’ policies to deal with the climate emergency.
- Federal Constitutional Court: Press release about the case (in English)
- Reuters: Germany must tighten climate law to protect young people’s future, court rules
- GermanWatch: Historic win for climate constitutional complaint
- ClimateChange News: Germany raises ambition to net-zero by 2045 after landmark court ruling
- EcoLogic: Policy brief - The German Federal Constitutional Court's Decision on the Climate Change Act
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