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Fit for 55

EU bets on energy savings and greener buildings to meet climate target

The EU aims to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and reach climate neutrality by 2050. On 14 July 2021, the European Commission presented the Fit for 55 Package with proposals aiming to deliver the 2030 CO2 reduction target and to pave the way to become the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050. The Fit for 55 Package is an impressive 12,000 page legislative proposal effectively codifying the principles laid down in the EU Climate Law.

European Climate Law and the Green Deal

The European Climate Law comes into force on 20 July 2021. Aimed at reaching the set EU climate-neutrality objective for 2050, the European Climate Law provides for a binding EU 2030 climate target of a domestic reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions (emissions after deduction of removals) by at least 55 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2030. 

With the European Green Deal, the EU is implementing specific measures aiming at achieving these climate ambitions and goals.

1. EU ETS

The European Commission proposes to reduce the overall quantity of emission allowances (the so-called “cap”) and to increase the annual rate of reduction of these emission allowances. For aviation, the European Commission proposes to phase out free emission allowances and to align with the global Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). Shipping emissions are proposed to be included in the existing EU ETS system for the first time. In addition, the EC proposes to introduce an ETS system for the buildings and road transport sectors.

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2. Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

The CBAM introduces a levy on the importation of certain goods - cement, electricity, fertilisers, iron & steel and aluminium - into the EU. The CBAM will create a reporting requirement for importing these goods as per 2023 and is an effective levy as per 2026. The aim is to address the risk of carbon leakage and reinforce the EU ETS. The introduction of an EU-wide CBAM should create a common and uniform framework to ensure an equivalence between the carbon pricing policy applied in the EU’s internal market and the carbon pricing policy applied on imports

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3. Energy Tax Directive

The long awaited revised Energy Taxation Directive aims to ensure that the taxation of energy products and electricity better reflects the impact they have on the environment and on health, by removing disadvantages for clean technologies and introducing higher levels of taxation for inefficient and polluting fuels.

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4. Other green taxes, revisions and measures

Brief outline of the other green taxes, revisions and measures included in the Fit for 55 package.

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The ‘Fit for 55 package’: 13 Green Deal building blocks

On 14 July 2021, the European Commission adopted and presented the ‘Fit for 55 Package’. A package of comprehensive and interconnected proposals for revision of several regulations and directives as well as certain new legislative proposals.

According to the European Commission, the package combines “application of emissions trading to new sectors and a tightening of the existing EU Emissions Trading System; increased use of renewable energy; greater energy efficiency; a faster roll-out of low emission transport modes and the infrastructure and fuels to support them; an alignment of taxation policies with the European Green Deal objectives; measures to prevent carbon leakage; and tools to preserve and grow our natural carbon sinks.”

Part of the building blocks consists of completely new legislative proposals and part is updates to existing EU Directives and Regulations. You find a more thorough and detailed explanation in the navigation above on:

  • Revision of the EU emission trading scheme (EU ETS) (maritime, aviation, cap reduction, benchmarks, free allowances, road transport and buildings)
  • Amendment of the Energy Taxation Directive (ETD)
  • Introduction of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)

The following elements are briefly outlined under the ‘Other green taxes, revisions and measures’.

Further new legislative proposals
  • ReFuelEU Aviation Initiative
  • FuelEU Maritime Initiative
  • Climate Social Fund
  • EU Forest Strategy
Updates to existing EU laws
  • Renewable Energy Directive (RED)
  • Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR)
  • Energy Efficiency Directive (EED)
  • Regulation on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF)
  • Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFID)
  • Regulation setting CO2 emission performance standards for new cars and vans
According to the European Commission, the chosen policy mix is a careful balance between pricing, targets, standards and support measures:
Green Deal building blocks
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Chris Winkelman

Chris Winkelman

Energy - Utilities - Resources Industry Leader & Energy Transition Leader, Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 154 18 97

Niels Muller

Niels Muller

Partner, Energy transition and sustainable energy, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 160 08 61

Juliette Marsé

Juliette Marsé

Director (Tax) - Energy, Utilities & Resources, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)63 419 61 08

Mohammed Azouagh

Mohammed Azouagh

Manager - Tax, Sustainability and Incentives, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)62 380 36 54

Sander Borremans

Sander Borremans

Manager Indirect Taxes, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)61 029 42 75

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