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EU lawmakers hail approval of amendments to European Climate Law

<p id="content">European Union (EU) lawmakers have welcomed the parliament plenary's decision to approve amendments to the European Climate Law that envisions climate neutrality by 2050 as a binding goal for the bloc.</p>
"Wrapping up the week. One step forward towards a sustainable continent," Lidia Pereira, a Portuguese member of the European Parliament, tweeted on Friday.

"The approval of Climate Law represents a major milestone in Europe's commitment with younger generations."

the European Parliament announced on Thursday the adoption of its negotiating mandate on the law with 392 votes in favor, 161 votes against, and 142 abstentions, after two days of debate and voting sessions, reports Xinhua news agency.

Commenting on the voting result, European Commission Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans tweeted that Parliament, with its vote on the climate law, sends a strong message about the need for ambition in tackling the climate crisis.

"This is a historic moment," claimed Jytte Guteland, a Swedish MEP who was Parliament's rapporteur on the proposed Climate Law.

Guteland said the climate law is indeed the cornerstone of the European Green Deal as it enshrines in the legislation the EU's objectives to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest.

The MEPs also backed a new target of 60 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990, up from the 55 per cent goal proposed by the European Commission.

If natural sinks, which are natural storages of CO2 such as soil, forests and oceans, are to be taken into account in greenhouse gas reduction, the 55 percent target is in fact a CO2 emission reduction of only 51-53 per cent, said Guteland during the debate.

This will not be enough, as natural sinks are shrinking, she argued.

An interim target for 2040 should also be set as soon as possible after a thorough impact assessment, as demanded by the lawmakers.

According to Guteland, the new law, which is becoming binding for both the EU and its individual member states to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, will encourage solidarity between member states, as they all have different starting points and no one shall be left behind.

An independent scientific body, the European Climate Change Council (ECCC), will be established in order to monitor and advise the EU on its progress toward climate neutrality, according to the approved amendments.

The EU climate law was initially put forward by the European Commission in March 2020, following a decision of the European Council in 2019 to become climate-neutral by 2050.