Stockholm (NordSIP) – On Wednesday, December 11th, the European Commissions presented its European Green Deal. The proposal provides a roadmap with actions to boost the efficient use of resources to make the EU carbon neutral by 2050, stop climate change, revert biodiversity loss and cut pollution.
“The European Green Deal is our new growth strategy – for a growth that gives back more than it takes away,” European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen (Pictured), said. “It shows how to transform our way of living and working, of producing and consuming so that we live healthier and make our businesses innovative. We can all be involved in the transition and we can all benefit from the opportunities.”
“We will help our economy to be a global leader by moving first and moving fast,” the EU’s chief executive said. “We are determined to succeed for the sake of this planet and life on it – for Europe’s natural heritage, for biodiversity, for our forests and our seas. By showing the rest of the world how to be sustainable and competitive, we can convince other countries to move with us.”
The Road Ahead
The roadmap outlines detailed policy steps by the European Commission to put these proposal into place. The first step in the European Commissions’s schedule will be the proposal of a Just Transition Mechanism, including a Just Transition Fund, and a Sustainable Europe Investment Plan in January 2020. The Just Transition Mechanism will aim to protect and assist the economy, particularly workers, to manage the costs of the green transition.
March 2020 will see the proposal of a European ‘Climate Law’ enshrining the 2050 climate neutrality objective. During the same month, the European Commission plans to launch a EU industrial policy consistent with the green new deal and announce the Circular Economy Action Plan. The latter will include a sustainable products initiative and focus particularly on resource-intense sectors such as textiles, construction, electronics and plastics. March will also see the publication of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the launch of the European Climate Pact.
Reactions to the announcement have been overwhelmingly supportive. A majority of political groups in the European Parliament came out in support of the proposal. However, Philippe Lamberts a Belgian member of the Greens/EFA group, requested that the EU commit to a 65 % reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and to ensure sustainable resources, biodiversity and tackle pollution. The Green MEP also reminded that the “Just Transition Fund” should benefit the most vulnerable people, while warning that farming and financial policies need a complete overhaul.
“We applaud Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and her team, for developing such an ambitious action plan,” said Tanguy van de Werve, Director General of the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA). “The European Green Deal, with the active support from the Member States and the European Parliament, has the potential to be a real game-changer and enable to achieve the ambitious aspiration of making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. As the voice of the European Asset Management Industry, we fully support the Commission and are committed to play our role as an industry in channelling the necessary funds towards projects which are essential for this transition to happen. We would like to stress that robust, comparable, reliable and publicly available ESG data on investee companies are a prerequisite for this to happen.”
In the late hours of December 12, Poland refused to sign up to the new EU target, three diplomats said as the summit broke up early on Friday morning.
“In the light of the latest available science and of the need to step up global climate action, the European Council endorses the objective of achieving a climate-neutral EU by 2050, in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. One Member State, at this stage, cannot commit to implement this objective as far as it is concerned, and the European Council will come back to this in June 2020,” European Council leaders wrote in their conclusions, as quoted by POLITICO.
Photo courtesy of the European Parliament