‘Fit for 55’: EU unveils major reforms to cut CO2 emissions

Today Europe laid out a plan to cut greenhouse emissions that is also a challenge to rest of the world to do the same. It is called the “Fit for 55” program and includes dozens of policies aimed at reducing CO2 gases by 55 percent by the end of this decade. If the legislation is passed, it will give a major boost to renewable energy production. It will also have wide-ranging effects on how Europeans live – including a phase out of diesel and gasoline vehicles. Critics say it will put a heavy financial burden on citizens, especially in poorer European countries. Environmental activists say “Fit for 55” is not fit enough. The EU is aiming to become the first major region to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The moon landing in 1969 is an event that Europe’s leaders have compared to another historic challenge: The fight against climate change. The EU aims to make Europe the first climate neutral continent – by 2050. That means no more carbon should be emitted into the atmosphere than what’s absorbed, for example by forests. As a first step on this journey, EU leaders have pledged to cut emissions by 55 percent by 2030. But critics say these cuts are nowhere near enough to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Others fear less wealthy EU countries – and many of its poorer citizens – won’t be able to afford the measures. The EU, though, has promised to help lower income households and fight climate change – by introducing a package of new laws.