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Campaigners threaten EU with legal action over climate policy

FILE PHOTO: European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 1, 2023.REUTERS/Johanna Geron/File Photo

BRUSSELS, Aug 24 (Reuters) – Environmental campaigners have taken a first step towards legally challenging the European Commission over a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, saying it fell short of Europe’s “fair share” in combating climate change.

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe and the non-profit Global Legal Action Network said on Thursday they had formally asked Brussels to revise a law setting out how fast European Union countries must cut emissions in sectors including agriculture and transport.

The EU law in question is one of more than a dozen policies designed to reduce the bloc’s net emissions by 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels. That is one of the most ambitious climate targets of any major economy, but the campaigners want it lifted to 65%.

CAN Europe Policy Coordinator Romain Didi said the law, and the EU climate target it was designed to deliver, fell short of Europe’s “fair share” in global efforts to fight climate change, when the continent’s historical emissions were taken into account.

“The EU needs to take into account its historical responsibility and its capacity to act, to ensure that it does enough to meet the 1.5C goal of the Paris Agreement,” Didi told Reuters.

The European Commission is examining the request, a spokesperson said. “The Commission does not consider this implementing decision to be in breach of fundamental rights,” the spokesperson added, referring to the EU law.

The campaigners had said the law was “insufficient to protect fundamental human rights”.

The Commission has 16 weeks to respond to the request, after which the groups could launch a legal challenge at the EU’s top court.

All EU countries have approved the collective 55% emissions target, which is fixed into law. A draft document, seen by Reuters last month, showed the EU expects to surpass its 2030 target and cut emissions by 57%, if countries comply with recently passed climate policies.

Source: Reuters