On March 4, 2020 the EU Commission communicated its commitment to become a zero emission, and hopefully virus-free continent,  in a proposal for a Regulation “establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality and amending Regulation(EU) 2018/1999  (on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action)”, the first Climate Law in the world after Puerto Rico.

Please find the main ambitions of the proposal for the short term, building on the European Green Deal  to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050:

  • new EU target for 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reductions: this part of the Law will be amended once the impact assessment is completed.
  • By June 2021, review, and where necessary propose to revise, all relevant policy instruments to deliver the additional emissions reductions for 2030.
  • Adoption of a 2030-2050 EU-wide trajectory for greenhouse gas emission reductions, to measure progress and give predictability to public authorities, businesses and citizens.
  • By September 2023, and every five years thereafter, the Commission will assess the consistency of EU and national measures with the climate-neutrality objective and the 2030-2050 trajectory.
  • Recommendations to Member States whose actions are inconsistent with the climate-neutrality objective, and Member States will be obliged to take due account of these Recommendations;
  • Member States will also be required to develop and implement adaptation strategies to strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

Relevant passages in the Climate Law for H2 deployment:


(15) In taking the relevant measures at Union and national level to achieve the climateneutrality objective, Member States and the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission should take into account the contribution of the transition to climate neutrality to the well-being of citizens, the prosperity of society and the competitiveness of the economy;
– energy and food security and affordability;
– fairness and solidarity across and within Member States considering their economic capability, national circumstances and the need for convergence over time;
– the need to make the transition just and socially fair;
best available scientific evidence, in particular the findings reported by the IPCC;
– the need to integrate climate change related risks into investment and planning decisions (multinationals and regions? EHA);
– cost-effectiveness and technological neutrality in achieving greenhouse gas emissions reductions and removals and increasing resilience;
– progression over time in environmental integrity and level of ambition.

(21) In order to provide predictability and confidence for all economic actors, including businesses, workers, investors and consumers, to ensure that the transition towards climate neutrality is irreversible, to ensure gradual reduction over time and to assist in the assessment of the consistency of measures and progress with the climate-neutrality objective, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union should be delegated to the Commission to set out a trajectory for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the Union by 2050. It is of particular importance that the Commission carries out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level, and that those consultations be conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making37. In particular, to ensure equal participation in the preparation of delegated acts, the European Parliament and the Council receive all documents at the same time as Member States’ experts, and their experts systematically have access to meetings of Commission expert groups dealing with the preparation of delegated acts.

Article 3 Trajectory for achieving climate neutrality
1. The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 9 to supplement this Regulation by setting out a trajectory at Union level to achieve the climate-neutrality objective set out in Article 2(1) until 2050. At the latest within six months after each global stocktake referred to in Article 14 of the Paris Agreement, the Commission shall review the trajectory.
2. The trajectory shall start from the Union’s 2030 target for climate referred to in Article 2(3).
3. When setting a trajectory in accordance with paragraph 1, the Commission shall consider the following:
(a) cost-effectiveness and economic efficiency;
(b) competiveness of the Union’s economy;
(c) best available technology;
(d) energy efficiency, energy affordability and security of supply;
(e) fairness and solidarity between and within Member States;
(f) the need to ensure environmental effectiveness and progression over time;
(g) investment needs and opportunities;
(h) the need to ensure a just and socially fair transition;
(i) international developments and efforts undertaken to achieve the long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement and the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change;
(j) the best available and most recent scientific evidence, including the latest reports of the IPCC.

Article 6 Assessment of national measures
1. By 30 September 2023, and every 5 years, thereafter the Commission shall assess:
(a) the consistency of national measures identified, on the basis of the National Energy and Climate Plans or the Biennial Progress Reports submitted in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1999, as relevant for the achievement of the climate-neutrality objective set out in Article 2(1) with that objective as expressed by the trajectory referred to in Article 3(1);
(b) the adequacy of relevant national measures to ensure progress on adaptation as referred to in Article 4.

An important amendment has been made in the previous Regulation 2018/1999  Article 11 on the Multilevel climate and energy dialogue:
Each Member State shall establish a multilevel climate and energy dialogue pursuant to national rules, in which local authorities, civil society organisation, business community, investors and other relevant stakeholders and the general public are able actively to engage and discuss the achievement of the Union’s climate-neutrality objective set out in Article 2 of Regulation …/… [Climate Law] and the different scenarios envisaged for energy and climate policies, including for the long term, and review progress, unless it already has a structure which serves the same purpose. Integrated national energy and climate plans may be discussed within the framework of such a dialogue.

Photo: courtesy RH2INE Green Deal contribution, the Rhine Hydrogen Integrated Network of Excellence to facilitate sustainable hydrogen infrastructure roll out along EU’s main transport corridors.