EU Parliament's environment committee votes to support 60% EU emissions cut by 2030

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Lawmakers in European Parliament’s environment committee on Thursday voted in favour of a legally binding target for the European Union to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030, against 1990 levels.

The EU wants to upgrade its 2030 emissions-cutting target, to steer its economy towards becoming “climate neutral” by 2050, and lead global efforts to curb emissions at a rate that would avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Thursday’s vote agreed the committee’s position on the EU climate law, a landmark bill to make the bloc’s climate goals legally-binding.

The committee will formally approve its position on the law with another vote on Friday. The full parliament will vote on the law in early October.

The climate law must also be approved by national governments, who disagree on how ambitious the EU’s new 2030 emissions-cutting target should be.

A 55% emissions reduction goal has support from some 12 countries, but some eastern states have refused to commit to any new target before seeing an assessment of the economic costs.

The committee on Thursday backed a more ambitious 2030 climate goal than the one being considered by the European Commission, which is expected to propose a 55% EU emissions cut for 2030 next week.

It is not clear which target has majority support in the full parliament - but the hope is that if parliament aims high, it could pressure governments to accept a more ambitious goal, said French lawmaker Pascal Canfin, who chairs the environment committee.

“We all know that 55% is already very ambitious, but that science is even asking for more,” he said.

Reporting by Kate Abnett, editing by Marine Strauss