It’s Wednesday, July 14, and the E.U. has a slate of new climate proposals.

On Wednesday, the European Union’s executive body announced a dozen new climate proposals that could help the E.U. achieve its goal of going carbon neutral by the middle of the century. The proposals are known as “Fit for 55,” which alludes to slashing emissions 55 percent by 2030 — the first obstacle on the difficult path to net-zero by 2050. The proposals will need to be negotiated and ultimately approved by the E.U.’s 27 member states and the European Parliament. 

The legislation would effectively ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. It would phase out coal as an electricity source and put a tax on high-emissions jet and shipping fuel. And it also includes something called a carbon border adjustment tax, which would slap tariffs on imported goods to account for the emissions associated with their production. The tax would target steel, cement, iron, and fertilizers, among other imports. 

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“Fit for 55” faces a series of tests before it becomes law. Coal-rich nations like Poland and Hungary are likely to oppose the coal phase-out aspect of the plan. France, home to two major automakers, has already objected to the short timeline for the ban on gas-powered car sales. The carbon border adjustment tax may spark conflicts with non-E.U. nations. But E.U. officials are asking Europeans to rise to the occasion. 

“We’re going to ask a lot of our citizens,” E.U. climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said. “We’re also going to ask a lot of our industries, but we do it for good cause. We do it to give humanity a fighting chance.”

Zoya Teirstein

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The Smog

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Eve Andrews