THE world’s climate will not be saved by lofty promises and beautiful speeches, but through solid legislation ensuring that countries uphold the promises they made in the Paris Agreement. Individual countries, such as Scotland and Sweden, can rightly be proud of their achievements and the EU’s current rules on climate action are good, but they could still be better.

We are at a crucial stage, and in my column this week, alongside my Green colleague Jakop Dalunde from Sweden, I would like to set some context.

The current EU energy negotiations are about to determine the fate of the Paris Climate Agreement. With the most ambitious climate change proposal in decades now on the table, the EU has an historic opportunity to breathe life into the Paris Agreement, and to take the first steps towards a European Climate Law.

In the aftermath of the Trump administration’s announcement to abandon the Paris Agreement altogether, Europe must redouble its efforts. Several European countries, regions and cities have already introduced effective climate laws, and many others are considering following suit. This progress must be further co-ordinated and encouraged by a comprehensive European approach, in order to combat climate change.

The most efficient method at our disposal would be the introduction of a comprehensive European Climate Law.

In a landmark decision this January, the European Parliament adopted ambitious climate objectives together with planning and reporting mechanisms which could become a historic leap towards such a European Climate Law. Crucially the Governance Regulation will, if the parliament has its way, see the transposition of the Paris Agreement into EU law. The ball is now in the EU Council’s court clear leadership must now be shown in order to be on the right side of history.

The central tenant of the European Parliament’s position is to develop long-term strategies, at national and EU levels, to reach zero net emissions by 2050 at the latest, shortly to be followed by negative emissions. Fixing a long-term goal sends a clear political signal to consumers, producers, investors and innovators, on the direction in which we are heading. It allows for businesses to plan, and gives funding councils targets for where to focus research and development.

Even so, at current emission trajectories some experts predict more than a 4°C rise in global temperature. This underscores the need, now more than ever, for long-term strategies promoting swift action. We see a group of progressive countries led by France, Sweden, the Netherlands and Luxembourg welcoming a net zero emission target for 2050, but other countries need to follow.

Alongside this we would also like, for the first time in a EU legislation, to create a carbon budget that specifies the amount of carbon dioxide emissions we can emit, while still having a likely chance of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5-2°C above pre-industrial levels. It is crucial that the Commission reports on the remaining fair share for the EU and ensures that long-term strategies are consistent with such an EU carbon budget.

The measures proposed by the European Parliament are a big step forward but can only be a first step towards a broader climate law for Europe. A law that would address the whole economy and, besides energy, other sectors such as transport and agriculture. As with all European regulation, this would set minimums, not maximums, so Scotland could continue to be even more ambitious. In addition to the political vision, we need quantified carbon budgets for specific time periods, legally binding emission targets, and significantly strengthened review systems to ensure effective implementation.

The examples of climate laws around the world show that good laws often lead to more green jobs and a more sustainable economy, a double win. There is no reason why Europe should be any different.

Climate change does not respect national boundaries and cannot be tackled by individual nations. We need to see long-term co-operation on this world wide. Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations we hope that the UK Government will continue to play its part.