The European Green Deal

“The European Green Deal is our new growth strategy. It will allow us to cut down on emissions and create new jobs.” Ursula von der Leyen.

The new European Commission has presented on December 11, 2019 the “European Green Deal” that, alongside with the Long-Term Strategy for 2050 to be approved within the next few months, should head the EU towards a complete decarbonisation. It is an action coordinated on multiple fronts, that expects commitments both on a European and a national level, and that will be sustained by a vast plan of investments.

Actually there was a report by the United Nations that, already in 2009, was asking for a “Global Green New Deal”. The American Democrats were the first in February 2019 to present to Congress a “plan” of economic reforms, based on the report by the UN advisory body Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, where the possible consequences of a 1,5 degrees rise of global temperature are analysed. Even though the plan did not pass in Senate because of the Republicans, once presented in the USA, the Green New Deal went around the world until it reached the European Green Deal. The Europeans wish for concrete actions regarding climate change and want Europe to trace the path to follow. Becoming the first continent without a carbon footprint would be at the same time the challenge and the opportunity of a lifetime. The “Green New Deal” sets indubitably a big European plan to deal with climate change. The goals to achieve by 2030 are:

  • A decrease of at least 40% of greenhouse gas emission compared to the 1990 levels, at least a 32% share of renewable energy in final energy consumption and at least 32.5% energy savings.
  • Europe will have to channel 1-2% of its GDP toward the green economy, including new infrastructures, public contracts, Research&Development, industrial transformation and other demands.
  • The European Commission estimates that additional investments necessary to achieve the EU’s climate goal for 2030 will total to 260 billion euros per year and proposes to dedicate 45 billion euros per year from 2021 to 2027.

The EU Green Deal’s investment plan will mobilise the EU funds and will create a context able to ease and incite public and private investments necessary to transition towards a competitive, climate neutral, inclusive and green economy. The plan is divided into three dimensions: 

- Mobilise at least 1000 billion euros in eco-friendly investments in the next ten years. The EU’s budget will allocate to climate and environmental action a share of public spending never seen before, luring private funds; in this context European Investment Bank will play a primary role;
- Plan incentives to unlock and reposition public and private investments. The EU will give useful tools to investors, making sustainable finance a pillar of the financial system. The plan will also ease eco-friendly investments from public authorities, encouraging green budget practices and contracts, as well as coming up with solutions aimed at simplifying State’s aid approval procedures in the affected regions by the right transition;
- The Commission will give support to public authorities and promoters in the process of planning, developing and implementing eco-friendly projects.

The main goal is to do one’s part to limit the rise of global warming that, according to the IPCC’s estimates, must remain within 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial era so as not to cause great damage to the planet and therefore to the human kind. To respect this limit, established by the 2015 Paris Agreement, the EU has committed itself to have net zero emissions by 2050, and to respect intermediate goals for 2030 and 2040.

Regarding this matter, on Tuesday January 14 MEPs will be called to examine some proposals to encourage the EU to decrease its CO2 emissions. A date to remember is Wednesday, January 15, when von der Leyen’s climate plan will be examined and a resolution will be voted that would commit the EU to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and adjust emission reduction goals by 2030, before the December 2020 Climate Conference in Glasgow.

By Giada Pagnoni

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