BRUSSELS: European Union environment ministers are set to agree this week to make the bloc's pledge to be climate neutral by 2050 legally binding, although tough questions about how deeply to cut emissions over the next decade will be left to leaders to discuss in December.
The bloc, which takes big decisions by consensus among its 27 member states, is inching its way towards tighter emissions goals in time for a year-end deadline under the Paris climate agreement to spell out targets for 2030.
Its longer term goal is net zero emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases by 2050, which the executive European Commission says will drive the economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis, as countries invest in renewable energy, electric cars and other technologies.
Over the next decade, the Commission wants to cut emissions by at least 55 per cent from 1990 levels. But some countries, especially those that burn coal, want more guarantees that the economic burden of the transformation will be shared.
Leaders agreed at a summit last week to gather more information on how the new target will affect individual countries – a key demand of coal-heavy Poland – before trying to reach a deal in December on the 2030 target.
Meanwhile, environment ministers will attempt on Friday to agree the rest of the law to make emissions-cutting goals legally binding. That would let them start negotiations with the European Parliament, which must approve it.
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