Nov. 10 (UPI) -- After intense negotiations Thursday night the European Union reached a provisional agreement on the Nature Restoration Law that requires member states to restore at least 20% of environmentally degraded lands and seas by 2030.
The European Parliament said in a statement, "Co-legislators agreed on an EU target to restore at least 20% of land and 20% of sea areas by 2030 and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. To reach these targets, EU countries must restore at least 30% of habitat types covered by the new law that are in poor condition to a good condition by 2030, increasing to 60% by 2040, and 90% by 2050."
"We are faced with an increasingly dramatic reality: the EU's nature and biodiversity are in danger and need to be protected," said Spanish environment minister Teresa Ribera.
The deal reached by EU lawmakers and member states -- negotiators from Parliament and the European Council -- must still be approved by the full Parliament.
Member of Parliament Cesar Luena said in a statement: "The agreement reached today is a significant collective moment. 70 years after the European project began, a European law for nature restoration is needed to address biodiversity loss. ... I want to highlight and express gratitude for the crucial role played by the group of the social democrats in these negotiations, as without the unity of the S&D Group in support of this law, we would not be celebrating the adoption of an agreement today."
The World Wildlife Fund EU said in a Thursday statement, "While we are pleased to see that all ecosystems originally covered by the law are still included in the agreement, the articles have been watered down compared to the original commission's proposal and the council's position. It is disappointing to see the many exemptions included, and the excessive flexibility regarding obligations for member states."
The WWF said numerous environmental targets in the proposed law were watered down with compromises and concessions to satisfy "even the most conservative factions."
Despite that, WWF called on member states and the EU Parliament to approve the proposed law.
According to a statement from Ioannis Agapakis, nature conservation lawyer at ClientEarth, "Negotiators have hollowed out the law to the point that it risks being toothless in practice and prone to abuse."
Agapakis said there are numerous exceptions and a lack of legal safeguards that he said have set "a very frightening precedent for EU lawmaking, rather than cementing the EU at the forefront of biodiversity conservation."