The European Parliament today approved the deals reached with EU member countries in late 2022 on several key pieces of legislation that are part of the “Fit for 55 in 2030 package”, the EU’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels in line with the European Climate Law. The 27 EU countries are collectively the third largest emitter of GHGs globally. The legislation now requires final approval from EU member countries over the course of the next few weeks. This bulletin summarizes key highlights from the legislation adopted today: EU ETS strengthened. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted to reform the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which will now require GHG emissions in covered sectors to be reduced by 62% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. The reforms also phase out free allowances starting in 2026 and place a price on GHG emissions from road transport and buildings starting in 2027 or 2028 (termed ETS II).  Moreover, the ETS will be expanded to cover GHG emissions from the maritime sector, and revised for aviation, phasing out free allowances for the sector by 2026 and promoting the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).  CBAM rules adopted. MEPs adopted the rules for the new EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), which aims to incentivize non-EU countries to increase their climate ambition while ensuring that EU and global climate efforts are not undermined by carbon leakage (production being relocated from the EU to countries with less ambitious policies). The goods covered by CBAM are iron, steel, cement, aluminium, fertilizers, electricity, hydrogen, and indirect emissions under certain conditions. Importers of these goods would have to pay any price difference between the carbon price paid in the country of production and the price of carbon allowances in the EU…

ClientEarth, an environmental advocacy organization active in climate litigation, together with Friends of the Earth and the Good Law Project, presented legal arguments before the UK High Court on June 8-9 in their challenge of the UK government’s net-zero by 2050 strategy. ClientEarth asserts that the UK government has not met its legal obligation under the Climate Change Act, which requires the government to set climate policies that satisfy the UK’s legally binding carbon budgets. ClientEarth argues that the UK is relying on unproven technologies instead of supporting opportunities for immediate impact, including recommendations for cutting emissions and reducing energy bills from the UK’s Climate Change Committee, such as increased insulation and low-carbon heating in buildings. ClientEarth notes that the UK’s current approach will require significant and drastic emissions reductions in the coming decades, with increased impacts on young people and future generations. Last month, ClientEarth, along with Dutch campaigners Fossielvrij Netherlands and Reclame Fossielvrij, delivered a letter to Dutch airline, KLM, stating their intention to file a legal claim if the demands set out in the letter are not met. The demands include calling for a ban on all fossil fuel advertising in the EU. ClientEarth intends for the ban to stop companies like KLM from misleading the public over what is needed to reduce emissions and the airline industry’s contribution to climate change. ClientEarth is targeting KLM’s ‘Fly Responsibly’ ad campaign and the airline’s offers for customers to purchase carbon offsets which will be used to fund reforestation projects or the purchase of biofuels to offset the emissions from their flight. ClientEarth states that such campaigns do little to reduce emissions and may instead undermine and delay urgent climate change action.