The UNIFY consortium, together with other CAN Europe members and partners, publishes today “Climate Laws in Europe – essential for achieving climate neutrality”.

The report, which takes stock of the situation of national climate laws in 17 European countries – also beyond EU borders – has three main goals:

  1. Providing easy access to anyone that would like to increase their knowledge base about the content and status of a climate law in any of the participating countries.
  2. Creating a resource to support partners in pushing Member States to adopt national economy-wide climate neutrality targets as well as a national governance enabling conditions to achieve it.
  3. Showcasing the successful array of governance mechanisms that already exist at national level and which could inspire improvements of the EU’s climate architecture.

Currently, the European Union’s climate neutrality target is only enshrined in the European Climate Law; the target applies collectively to the Union but does not apply to each Member State individually. Yet, some 13 countries have already gone beyond this and have adopted — or are about to adopt — national whole economy wide climate neutrality targets. To accompany this effort, they have in many cases also put in place rather robust national climate governance mechanisms to create the enabling conditions for national ownership and responsibility to deliver their national climate neutrality target.

The report finds that a growing number of European countries are adopting national climate laws. This demonstrates a strong and growing consensus that robust national ownership of the responsibility to achieve climate neutrality is crucial for delivery. The quality of national climate governance matters just as much, being the bedrock to reach any target.

Where a national climate law has not been adopted or is not yet in the pipeline, the report finds that civil society, convinced of the importance of national climate laws including a sound governance framework, is pushing for to obtain them.

Finally, the report emphasizes that the EU should take the opportunity of the ‘Fit for 55’ process to achieve a ‘levelling up’ of national standards to increase accountability of the EU’s climate neutrality objective.