The EU Climate Law was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 9 July and will come into force on the 20th day following publication (i.e. 29 July).  

The law enshrines the EU's new climate targets:

  • carbon neutrality (i.e. net zero) by 2050 and "aim to achieve negative emissions thereafter"; and 
  • a reduction in GHG emissions of at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. 

The 2050 target is a “collective” legal obligation, rather than a legal obligation on every Member State individually - which means that some Member States will be allowed to reach the target later if others manage to meet it sooner. 

The Commission must propose an intermediate climate target for 2040, at the latest within six months after the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement in 2023 and publish an indicative EU GHG budget for 2030-50.

The Commission must also work with sectors that choose to prepare voluntary roadmaps towards achieving the EU’s climate neutrality objective by 2050. The Commission will work as a facilitator rather than be the one initiating and drafting the roadmaps. 

The Climate Law also establishes an independent scientific advisory body - the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change - to advise policymakers on the alignment of EU policies with the climate neutrality goal. The new body will provide scientific advice and report on existing and proposed policy measures and targets as well as GHG budgets.  

The Commission is set to publish its "Fit for 55" package of proposals tomorrow (14 July) which will flesh out how the EU intends to meet the new 2030 climate target.