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Massive climate reform in the European Union is just the beginning

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The European Union presents a historic climate plan in Brussels. Credit: Thierry Monasse / Bloomberg

The European Union’s climate plan could be the most ambitious attempt yet to force a major economy out of fossil fuels, and by some measures it will still not be enough to prevent global temperatures from rising. But that is no reason to despair.

The Suitable for pack of 55 – named for its goal of reducing emissions by at least 55% from 1990s levels by 2030 – is astonishingly detailed work. In more than 3,500 pages set a roadmap That includes expanding what is already the world’s largest carbon market, putting a price on emissions from aviation and shipping, and banning the sale of new combustion-engine cars. It pushes the EU target for solar and wind energy and seeks to ensure that buildings are better insulated. A € 72 billion ($ 85 billion) fund will be created to help vulnerable households and businesses cope with rising energy prices.

The European Commission is already facing rejection from Member States and industry groups, even as the complicated art of target analysis suggests it doesn’t go far enough. The overall goal of a 55% reduction in itself does not meet …

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