EU and US approve new rules for decarbonisation and emissions reduction

Members of the European Parliament have approved the Net-Zero Industry Act, aimed at boosting production of decarbonisation technologies in the EU. Concurrently, the Biden Administration has introduced a new rule to considerably reduce emissions from coal and natural gas plants using carbon capture technologies.

EU and US approve new rules for decarbonisation and emissions reduction

The new EU Act sets a target for Europe to produce 40% of its annual deployment requirements in net-zero technologies by 2030.

The Net-Zero Industry Act sets a target for Europe to produce 40% of its annual deployment requirements in net-zero technologies by 2030, aligning with national energy and climate plans (NECPs). Additionally, the Act aims to capture 15% of the global market value for these technologies.

The technologies include all renewable technologies, nuclear, industrial decarbonisation, grid, energy storage technologies and biotech.

The law will simplify the permitting process, setting maximum timelines for projects to be authorised depending on their scope and output.

Member of the European Parliament Christian Ehler said: “This vote is good news for European industry and sets the tone for the next term.

“To achieve all our economic, climate and energy ambitions, we need industry in Europe. This Act is the first step to making our market fit for this purpose.”

As the EU accelerates efforts to advance decarbonisation, the UK falls behind in its pace of action.

Last year, the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) warned that the current UK policies remain ‘insufficient’ to deliver decarbonisation for key manufacturing sectors, urging for long-term investment and development of new-technologies.

New standards to reduce US fossil-fuel emissions

In related news, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has unveiled a new series of standards for the fossil-fuel industry, requiring all coal and natural gas plants to capture 90% of their carbon emissions.

The agency additionally implemented three other significant regulations, which involve strengthening emissions standards for neurotoxin mercury from coal-fired plants, decreasing wastewater pollution from coal-fired plants by approximately 660 million pounds per year and imposing stricter controls on coal ash management which was previously unregulated at the federal level.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), coal industry accounted for 16.2% of US utility-scale generation in 2023, while natural gas constituted for 43.1% in the same year.

The agency projects that the new regulations could reduce emissions by approximately 1.4 billion metric tons by 2047.

The Biden administration aims to utilise tax incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act, alongside the implementation of these new standards, to encourage companies to embrace low-carbon and environmentally friendly technologies for clean energy transition.

President Biden’s national climate advisor Ali Zaidi said: “This year, the US is projected to build more new electric generation capacity than we have in two decades – and 96% of that will be clean.

“America is now a magnet for private investment, with hundreds of billions of dollars committed and 270,000 new clean energy jobs created. This is how we win the future.”

However, concerns are mounting that this energy transition progress could be impeded following the Presidential election this year, as Donald Trump has stated his intention to revoke the Inflation Reduction Act if he defeats Biden in the November elections.

While other current global leaders pivot towards building resilient green economies and sustainable energy security, the UK has taken a contrasting step by introducing a new bill that broadens oil and gas licensing, purportedly aimed at ‘strengthening’ national energy security.

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