The Council invited for the first time the Commission to launch a major environmental plan at the 1972 Paris Summit. Subsequently, the European environmental policy was included in the Treaties with the Single Act of 1986.
After the Treaty of Maastricht (1992) and the Treaty of of Amsterdam (1997) qualified majority and co-decision were introduced for environmental policies. Since those years, the Commission must always take environmental protection into account in its action and policy implementation. Finally, the Treaty of Lisbon (2007) introduced sustainable development in Articles 191 to 193 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The Von der Leyen Commission put green policies firmly on top of its priorities with the European Green Deal. The Green Deal sets two targets: a reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions to at least 55% compared to 1990 levels by 2030 and zero net greenhouse-gas emissions – or climate neutrality – by 2050.
The European climate law adopted by the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament on 21 April, 2021 traces the path to climate neutrality. The text is billed as the "law of laws" since it lays the foundation for about 50 European legislative reforms planned until the summer of 2022.
On 14 July, 2021, the Commission adopted a set of proposals to make EU policies on climate, energy, land use, transport and taxation fit for the 2030 target.