Following the EU’s approval of a landmark climate change law making the block’s greenhouse gas emission targets legally binding, which member states have agreed to reducing 55% of carbon emissions by 2030, the European Commission, EU’s executive branch, has put forward a substantial legislative package to meet the ambitious targets set out in the EU green deal.
What is Happening?
- The European Commission announced on July 14 a raft of new policies to meet their climate change goals of reducing 55% of emission from 1990 levels by 2030, as well as a long-term goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
- At the same time, the EU aims to completely phase out passenger cars – which are responsible for around 12% of total EU CO2 emissions – that run on fossil fuels by 2035, effectively eliminating all petrol and diesel powered vehicles. National governments are required to expedite plans to install more charging and refuelling stations to encourage the push for electric vehicles.
- A new carbon border tax has been created to impose a levy on imports of materials including steel, aluminium and fertilser from nations and foreign companies with laxer environmental rules in order to reduce ‘carbon leakage’. Potential international trading tensions, particular with countries like Russia, China and even the US are to be expected but this could provide a blueprint for others following G20’s endorsement of carbon pricing as a tool.
- Three billion trees to be planted across the EU by 2030, providing greater protection for some of Europe’s oldest forests.
- The EU looks to acquire 40% of its energy generated from renewable sources by 2030, upgraded from its current 32% target.
- Brussels also looks to impose new costs on out-dated home heating systems as well putting in incentives for the aviation industry to lower emissions or pay a tax for fuel.
- The EU expects the largest complaints will come from measures on combustion engine cars and home heating.
- Approximately USD $85.1 billion has been set aside in a new fund to help compensate for those struggling in the newly expanded market for carbon emissions.
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European Commission climate chief Frans Timmermans believes there will be a tough road ahead but insists this would make for a make-or-break fight against the climate crisis. “Yes it is difficult,” says Timmersman. “Yes it is hard. But it’s also an obligation, because if we were to renounce our obligation to help humanity live within planetary boundaries we would fail not just ourselves but we would fail our children and our grandchildren, who in my view, if we don’t fix this, will be fighting wars over water and food.”
Featured image by: Unsplash