EU Parliament turf war risks derailing 2050 climate planning

(EurActiv, 22 Feb 2019) A dispute between two European Parliament committees threatens to tarnish a debate about the EU’s climate plans for 2050, after MEPs backed two separate resolutions on the European Commission’s strategy.

The Parliament’s environment and energy committees have both taken it upon themselves to pen and approve resolutions on the EU executive’s Clean Planet For All strategy, presented in November.

The EU assembly shuts up shop soon for the elections in May, so lawmakers were limited in what kind of response it could issue under the current term.

ENVI was the natural choice to write the Parliament’s position and accept amendments from other committees but its energy counterpart (ITRE) decided that it was actually the best placed to author the text.

Both committees are chaired by European People’s Party members.

This week, both committees approved their respective resolutions, setting up a potential headache for the Parliament’s political leaders. As things stand, both texts will be sent to the next plenary sitting in March (11-14).

ITRE’s text is first on the docket and, if MEPs back it, ENVI’s will automatically fall after. Before that less-than-desirable outcome though, the Parliament’s governing body, the Conference of the Presidents, could decide to merge the two resolutions.

Spokespeople for both committees told EURACTIV that is definitely an option as the two texts do not directly contradict each other. Both support the Commission’s preference for a net-zero emissions 2050 target and both want the discussion to kick off in earnest at a leaders summit in May.

But, whatever happens, it opens a Pandora’s Box about the EU’s emissions cuts target for 2030, which currently stands at 40%. It is generally accepted that for Europe to honour its Paris Agreement commitments, that figure will have to be cranked up to at least 50%.

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EurActiv, 22 Feb 2019: EU Parliament turf war risks derailing 2050 climate planning