At the very end of 2022, the European Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). The objective of CBAM is to prevent that the greenhouse gas emissions reduction efforts of the EU be offset by increased emissions outside its borders through relocation of production or by increased imports of carbon-intensive products. This agreement appears particularly important because it puts pressure on Europe’s commercial partners to adopt equally effective climate policies. The agreement needs to be confirmed by the member states, and by the European Parliament, and adopted by both institutions before it is final.

The European Commission has published its highlights of 2022 concerning environmental issues. It reports on the critical role played by the EU in the agreement to halt destruction of the natural world at COP 15, after the world wildlife conference (CITES COP 19). The EU’s economy promises to become more circular, with proposals to reduce packaging and to make products more sustainable, including batteries, thanks to a new EU agreement. The European Commission proposes to reduce industrial emissions, to make air and water cleaner and to revise rules on classifying and labelling chemicals. It also urges the EU countries to better apply EU environmental rules; with this aim it has launched an interactive infringements dashboard and maps showing both former and on-going violations per country and sector.

According to the organization Transport and Environment, Europe made history on October 27th 2022. Late in the evening, negotiators for the EU governments and MEPs reached an agreement on ending sales of new combustion engine cars and vans by 2035. Furthermore, the organization mentions changes to regulations for the aviation sector. As the EU Fit for 55 legislation went from proposal to law and policy makers and citizens realized the unfair privileges from which aviation had been benefiting, there were signs that the supremacy of the aviation industry is starting to weaken.