The European Union's new executive launched a Green Deal policy package to tackle climate change on Wednesday, trumpeting it as the bloc's “man on the moon moment” – but fossil fuel-reliant eastern European states looked set to stall the initiative.
European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyens first major proposal since taking office on December 1 will commit the EU to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
Her proposal will feed into a discussion on Thursday among leaders of member states, but is likely to run into resistance from coal-dependent Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
“Today is the start of a journey. But this is Europes man on the moon moment,” von der Leyen told journalists before taking her climate pitch to the European Parliament.
“The European Green Deal is very ambitious, but it will also be very careful in assessing the impact and every single step were taking,” she said.
The #EUGreenDeal is more than just a vision. It is a roadmap for action. It has 50 actions for 2050 – for a climate and nature friendly Europe.
Our goal is to reconcile our economy with our planet, and make it work for our people.
This is Europe's 'man on the moon' moment.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) December 11, 2019
Global concern about climate change has mounted in recent months after heatwaves, droughts and wildfires that scientists say have been exacerbated by rising temperatures.
Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has triggered a global youth-led protest movement against world leaders for their perceived inaction on climate change.
At a UN climate summit in Madrid, Thunberg accused political and business leaders on Wednesday of looking for loopholes to polish their image over the fight for the climate
“The real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening when in fact almost nothing is being done apart from clever accounting and creative PR,” said Thunberg.
At least 50 percent carbon cuts by 2030
The European Commission will propose in March 2020 new laws to make the EU climate neutral by 2050. It will also propose by mid-2020 more ambitious targets to cut emissions by 2030 from the current 40 percent target to “at least” 50 percent, according to the document published on Wednesday.
One major component is a so-called Just Transition Fund, a mechanism of at least €35 billion that would support “regions most exposed to decarbonisation challenge”.
Von der Leyen said the Commission wants to mobilise €100 billion worth of investment to help the blocs economies pay for transition away from fossil fuels. This comes as the European Investment Bank (EIB), the EUs lending arm, decided on November 15 to cease funding fossil fuel projects at the end of 2021 in line with von der Leyens goals for it to be “Europes climate bank”.
She wants the EIB to dedicate half its financing to climate investment by 2025. She also plans to fund parts of the European Green Deal policies with a “Sustainable Europe Investment Plan”, with one trillion euros in investment over the coming decade.
To make the rest of the world follow suit, there would be a carbon border tax, essentially tariffs on imported polluting goods.
Sustainable agriculture and biodiversity
Von der Leyen also promised to refresh farming with policies such as the “Farm to Fork Strategy”, designed to help farmers produce food in more sustainable ways. This would mean transforming the EUs Common Agricultural Policy, which accounts for 37 percent of the blocs spending and is up for renewal in 2021. The Green Deal aims to reduce significantly use of chemical pesticides, fertilisers and antibiotics.
The Green Deal will also include a biodiversity strategy for the coming 10 years, with the EU aiming for a lead role at the United Nations biodiversity summit in 2020. The details of its strategy are set to be unveiled in March 2020.
Promises too small, too few, and too far off
Friends of the Earth Europe said the Green Deal marked a shift inRead More – Source