Fit for 55: a short recap

2 August 2021

Fit for 55: A short recap of the new EU climate legislative package

Although it sounds like a gym for boomers, Fit for 55 is the European Commission's plan to set the European Union on course to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030. The EU (consisting of 27 nations) is a significant contributor to global emissions. In 2019, the EU’s total emissions were around three and a half billion tonnes of CO2. Last month, the European Commission adopted a package of proposals to make the EU's climate, energy, land use, transport and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 (compared to the 1990 emissions). Achieving these emission reductions in the next decade is crucial to Europe becoming the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and making the European Green Deal a reality. This extensive package of rules is unique, as it is the first time an economy like the EU is taking big steps to actually review its climate rules. A lot has already been written about this topic, but we wanted to give you a summary of what Fit for 55 consists of.

The Fit for 55 package spans hundreds of pages and consists of a package of climate measures in many sectors. Furthermore, it comes with a Social Climate Fund of billions of euro's. This fund should ensure that the transformation towards a greener Europe takes place in a fair way. The Fit for 55 package includes 13 legislative proposals (some new laws and some updates to existing EU laws). Let’s quickly sum up all of them.

1. Revision of ETS

The European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) is the market-based mechanism that puts a price on carbon emitted (per ton). The current scheme covers around 40% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions, the remaining 60% being covered by the effort sharing regulation, which addresses emissions from transport, industry and agriculture. The European Commission now plans to expand the ETS to cover the maritime sector.

2. Climate action social facility

A new Social Climate Fund is proposed to provide dedicated funding to Member States to help citizens finance investments in energy efficiency, new heating and cooling systems, and cleaner mobility.

3. Revision of the effort sharing regulation

The Effort Sharing Regulation assigns strengthened emissions reduction targets to each Member State for buildings, road and domestic maritime transport, agriculture, waste and small industries.

4. Revision of LULUCF regulation

The Commission also updated the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Regulation, with an increased target for CO2-removals from 225 million tonnes of CO2 to 310 million tonnes of CO2.

5. Proposal for a carbon border adjustment mechanism

The new new Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism will put a carbon price on imports of a targeted selection of products to ensure that ambitious climate action in Europe does not lead to ‘carbon leakage'.

6. Revision of the renewable energy directive

The Renewable Energy Directive will set an increased target to produce 40% of our energy from renewable sources by 2030. All Member States will contribute to this goal, and specific targets are proposed for renewable energy use in transport, heating and cooling, buildings and industry.

7. Revision of the energy efficiency directive

To reduce overall energy use, cut emissions and tackle energy poverty, the Energy Efficiency Directive sets an ambitious binding annual target for reducing energy use at EU level. It will guide how national contributions are established and almost double the annual energy saving obligation for Member States.

8. Revision of the energy taxation directive

The revision of the Energy Taxation Directive proposes to align the taxation of energy products with EU energy and climate policies, promoting clean technologies and removing outdated exemptions and reduced rates that currently encourage the use of fossil fuels.

9. New EU Forest Strategy

The EU Forest Strategy aims to improve the quality, quantity and resilience of EU forests. It supports foresters and the forest-based bioeconomy while keeping harvesting and biomass use sustainable, preserving biodiversity, and setting out a plan to plant three billion trees across Europe by 2030.

10. Revision of the directive on deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure

This revision will require Member States to expand charging capacity in line with zero-emission car sales, and to install charging and fuelling points at regular intervals on major highways: every 60 kilometres for electric charging and every 150 kilometres for hydrogen refuelling.

11. Revision of the regulation setting CO2 standards for new cars and vans

Stronger CO2 emissions standards for cars and vans will accelerate the transition to zero-emission mobility by requiring average emissions of new cars to come down by 55% from 2030 and 100% from 2035 compared to 2021 levels.

12. ReFuelEU Aviation – sustainable aviation fuels

The ReFuelEU Aviation Initiative will oblige fuel suppliers to blend increasing levels of sustainable aviation fuels in jet fuel taken on-board at EU airports, including synthetic low carbon fuels, known as e-fuels.

13. FuelEU Maritime – green European maritime space

Similar to its aviation counterpart, FuelEU Maritime aims to decarbonise the shipping industry by ramping up the use and production of sustainable alternative fuels.

Fit for 55 is an attempt towards a greener future by the European Commission. It already has provided for some interesting political differences between member states. Is the Fit for 55 package the solution for all climate change problems? No, but we do believe that it shows that the EU recognizes that it's time for change.

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