The European Commission recently presented The European Green Deal – a roadmap for making the EU’s economy sustainable by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities across all policy areas and making the transition just and inclusive for all.
The European Green Deal provides a roadmap with actions to boost the efficient use of resources by moving to a clean, circular economy and stop climate change, revert biodiversity loss and cut pollution. It outlines investments needed and financing tools available and explains how to ensure a just and inclusive transition.
The European Green Deal covers all sectors of the economy, notably transport, energy, agriculture, buildings, and industries such as steel, cement, ICT, textiles and chemicals.
To set into legislation the political ambition of being the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050, the Commission will present within 100 days the first ‘European Climate Law’. To reach our climate and environmental ambition, the Commission will also present the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the new Industrial Strategy and Circular Economy Action Plan, the Farm to Fork Strategy for sustainable food and proposals for pollution-free Europe. Work will immediately start for upping Europe’s 2030 emissions targets, setting a realistic path to the 2050 goal.
Meeting the objectives of the European Green Deal will require significant investment. Achieving the current 2030 climate and energy targets is estimated to require €260 billion of additional annual investment, representing about 1.5% of 2018 GDP. This investment will need the mobilisation of the public and private sectors. The Commission will present in early 2020 a Sustainable Europe Investment Plan to help meet investment needs. At least 25% of the EU’s long-term budget should be dedicated to climate action, and the European Investment Bank, Europe’s climate bank, will provide further support. For the private sector to contribute to financing the green transition, the Commission will present a Green Financing Strategy in 2020.
Fighting climate change and environmental degradation is a common endeavour but not all regions and Member States start from the same point. A Just Transition Mechanism will support those regions that rely heavily on very carbon-intensive activities. It will support the citizens most vulnerable to the transition, providing access to reskilling programmes and employment opportunities in new economic sectors.
In March 2020, the Commission will launch a ‘Climate Pact’ to give citizens a voice and role in designing new actions, sharing information, launching grassroots activities and showcasing solutions that others can follow.
The global challenges of climate change and environmental degradation require a global response. The EU will continue to promote its environmental goals and standards in the UN’s Biodiversity and Climate Conventions and reinforce its green diplomacy. The G7, G20, international conventions, and bilateral relationships will be used to persuade others to step up their efforts. The EU will also use trade policy to ensure sustainability and it will build partnerships with its neighbours in the Balkans and Africa to help them with their own transitions.
The Commission invites the European Parliament and the European Council to endorse the Commission’s ambition for Europe’s future economy and the environment and to help realise it. The Commission will bring forward the measures announced in the European Green Deal roadmap.
Climate change and environmental degradation present an existential threat to Europe and the world. To overcome this challenge, Europe needs a new growth strategy that transforms the Union into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050, where economic growth is decoupled from resource use and where no one and no place is left behind.
The European Union already has a strong track record in reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases while maintaining economic growth. Emissions in 2018 were 23% lower than in 1990 while the Union’s GDP grew by 61% in the same period. But more needs to be done. The EU, given its extensive experience, is leading the way in creating a green and inclusive economy.
The Green Deal Communication sets the path for action in the months and years ahead. The Commission’s future work will be guided by the public’s demand for action and by undeniable scientific evidence as demonstrated most comprehensively by IPCC, IPBES, Global Resources Outlook and EEA SOER 2019 reports. Our proposals will be evidence-based and underpinned by broad consultation.
An overwhelming majority of Europeans consider that protecting the environment is important (95%). Almost 8 in 10 Europeans (77%) say that the protection of the environment can boost economic growth. The results of the Eurobarometer survey concerning environmental attitudes of EU citizens confirm the wide public support for environmental legislation at EU level and EU funding for environmentally friendly activities.
Editor note: The text in this article is taken directly from a press release.