March 4 (UPI) -- The executive branch of the European Union unveiled a climate change law on Wednesday that would require the 27-member alliance attain a net-zero emissions status by 2050.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the proposal would set the EU "irreversibly on the path to a more sustainable future."
"It is the heart of the European Green Deal," she added.
The law, which requires approval from all member states and European Parliament, would also set a new 2030 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and establish a new reduction "trajectory" for the period between 2030 and 2050.
The commission also announced 12 weeks of public consultations in Europe ahead of the next United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland in November.
Von der Leyen said the law would offer "predictability and transparency for European industry and investors," gives "direction to our green growth strategy" and guarantees the transition will be "gradual and fair."
The EU law followed an open letter on Tuesday from a dozen European nations that urged quicker action from the bloc to address climate change. It called on the commission to set goals for 2030 within three months and pressed the importance of having new goals in place by the start of the Scotland summit.
Wednesday's proposal was met with criticism from some environmental activists. Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg criticized the 2050 deadline as too distant and said the EU law lacks immediate and drastic measures to meet a quickly-shrinking "carbon budget."
"'Net-zero emissions by 2050' for the EU equals surrender," Greta, and 33 other youth activists, wrote in an open letter. "It means giving up. We don't just need goals for just 2030 or 2050. We, above all, need them for 2020 and every following month and year to come."
Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said the EU strategy concentrates on cutting carbon dioxide and methane emissions and establishes "circular" economic policies, including new waste and recycling laws.