Reactions to EU's "Fit for 55" climate plan

BRUSSELS, July 14 (Reuters) - The European Commission unveiled on Wednesday its most ambitious plan to tackle climate change and set out how the European Union's 27 countries can meet a collective goal to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030.

COMMENTS

GOVERNMENTS/POLITICIANS

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German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz

"The climate package... meets the challenge of the century, climate change. It will be a very important task for the next federal government to conduct the negotiations in such a way that we can achieve the climate goals, while at the same time the necessary industrial transformation takes place at a rapid pace and is fair. It's about wealth and jobs. That is why I have proposed the establishment of an international climate club so that as many states as possible, including those outside the EU, agree on climate policy."

European Parliament President David Sassoli

"Parliament stands ready to work on the proposals as soon as possible. The EU has proved that it is possible to cut emissions while growing and creating jobs. Let's continue on this path and ensure that no one is left behind."

INDUSTRY

Peter Gattaz, president of BusinessEurope

"While the overall direction is right, the devil is in the details with lots of extremely important details in finding the right balance between climate ambition and economic and technological challenges. We will be very vigilant, regarding, for example, the consistency between different legislative measures to avoid double regulation of European industry. It is also necessary to ensure a fair distribution of efforts within society. Over the past 15 years, European industry has already reduced its emissions by almost 35%.

"We call on co-legislators to step up their efforts in favour of a predictable business environment that allows all of European industry to make the investments necessary to decarbonise."

Thomas Reynaert, managing director of A4E (airlines body)

"The proposals unveiled today will have a transformative impact on the sector. We look forward to working with policy-makers to ensure airlines can deliver on our commitments, while at the same time making sure regulators also play their part. In the end we must keep air transport affordable and accessible to all citizens."

Peter Adrian, president of DIHK (German association of chambers of industry and commerce)

"The economy can only achieve these goals if companies remain competitive - in the EU internal market and in exports. The legislative package presented today offers many opportunities. But it also shows how demanding the foreseeable transformation towards climate neutrality is.

"The reformed emissions trading system will significantly increase the pressure for low-emission production processes and energy-efficient products.

"In some industries, however, climate-friendly production processes are not yet available or are far from being profitable. The politically intended high CO2 prices are therefore only sustainable if at the same time compensation is provided for the companies that are particularly affected."

CAMPAIGN GROUPS

Friends of the Earth

"The EU Commission's 'Fit for 55' package of new energy legislation includes significant measures to strengthen energy efficiency laws to help tackle energy poverty. However these gains are offset by a proposal to extend the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) to buildings and transport - a move that could push millions more Europeans into energy poverty, unable to pay their energy bills - risking lives and potential social backlash."

Jorgo Riss, EU director, Greenpeace

"This whole package is based on a target that is too low, doesn't stand up to science, and won't stop the destruction of our planet's life-support systems. For all the hype, many policies won't kick in for ten years or more, like the phase-out of polluting cars starting in 2035, while others will actually fuel the fire, like labelling the burning of trees as renewable energy."

William Todts, executive director of Transport & Environment

"This is a turning point for the auto industry and good news for drivers. The new EU rules will democratise electric cars and give a major boost to charging, meaning clean cars will soon be affordable and easy to charge for millions of Europeans. The problem is carmakers will only have to start selling those cleaner cars in 2030. Our planet cannot afford another nine years of big talk but little action from the auto industry."

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Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop and Foo Yun Chee, Marine Strauss and Nina Chestney; editing by Barbara Lewis and John Chalmers

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