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European Climate Law: Impact Assessment

April 2nd 2020

According to Better Regulation guidelines, an Impact Assessment is required for European Commission legislative proposals likely to have significant impacts. The European Climate Law proposal refers to the analysis supporting the 2018 Communication “A Clean Planet for All” as the reason for not requiring a dedicated Impact Assessment. The analysis provides relevant evidence, but does not fulfil the requirements
for a full Impact Assessment.


​The “European Climate Law” legislative proposal of 4th March 2020 aims to enshrine into EU law the objective of net zero emissions by 2050. The in-depth analysis and consultation supporting the Communication “A Clean Planet for All” of 28th November 2018 is quoted as the reason for not requiring a new Impact Assessment or a full stakeholder consultation. The supporting analysis assessed eight different emission reduction pathways, of which two entailed net zero GHG emissions for 2050 and six entailed emission reductions of 80% to 90%.

From our initial analysis, we make the following specific observations:

The objective of net zero emissions by 2050 was not addressed by the 2018 analysis in terms of its achievability and effectiveness compared to alternative objectives. A full Impact Assessment would be necessary to evaluate the achievability of the overall emission reduction target by 2050 and to assess policy options.

The two net zero emission scenarios were not addressed as policy options as envisaged by Better Regulation guidelines. “1.5 Tech” and “1.5 Life” scenarios differ significantly in terms, for example, of level of investment needed and lifestyle changes required. A full assessment of their social and economic impacts and a comparative analysis of the costs and benefits of the two scenarios were not carried out.

The consultation conducted on “A Clean Planet for All” Communication cannot be intended as a substitute for a full stakeholder consultation on the “European Climate Law” Regulation proposal. The two initiatives were proposed in different years and differ in terms of the scope, ambition, and level of detail of the proposed policy instrument (Communication vs Regulation).

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