On December 8, 2021, the Council of the EU announced EU Member States have endorsed an initial agreement between the Council presidency and the European Parliament on the 8th Environmental Action Program (EAP). The goals listed in the new EAP will guide European climate and environmental policy until 2030.
The 8th EAP has six thematic priority objectives: (i) greenhouse gas emissions reductions, (ii) adaptation to climate change, (iii) a growth model that gives back to the planet more than it takes, (iv) a zero-pollution ambition, (v) protecting and restoring biodiversity, and (vi) reducing key environmental and climate pressures related to production and consumption.
All negotiating parties have agreed the new EAP will support “significantly decreasing the Union’s material and consumption footprints,” the phase out of “environmentally harmful subsidies” including fossil fuels through “a binding framework to monitor and report on member states’ progress” with deadlines that support Paris Climate Accord, and to set stricter requirements for measuring progress. In 2024, the EAP will undergo a mid-term review to assess the progress toward the 2030 objectives. Where necessary, the European Commission will present a legislative proposal to update the timeline for 2025-2030.
In preparation for drafting the 8th EAP, the European Commission reviewed the 7th EAP and found that even though many governments and organizations are pledging stronger environmental goals, “spending on environmental protection has remained constant in Europe over many years (around 2% of GDP) and that the failure to implement environmental legislation costs the Union economy around EUR 55 billion each year in health costs and direct costs to the environment.” Research in the US has found that the impact of phthalates alone may cost the US $39.9–47.1 billion in lost economic productivity each year (FPF reported).
European Council (December 10, 2021). “8th EAP: member states endorse provisional political agreement reached with Parliament.”
European Council (December 10, 2021). “Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a General Union Environment Action Programme to 2030.” (pdf)