To become the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050 is the most ambitious objective of the new EU Commission. To achieve this goal, the new President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, presented the European Green Deal, the most ambitious package of measures which is meant to enable European citizens and businesses to benefit from a sustainable green transition.
The Green Deal has two major goals:
2050: The EU is to become climate neutral by 2050. This means that all greenhouse gases are avoided or stored, be it in forests or underground. The goal of climate neutrality should be enshrined in a law by March 2020.
2030: The second central point on the path to climate neutrality is an ambitious milestone: the EU should reduce its greenhouse gases by 50 to 55 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. So far, a loss of only 40 percent was planned.
With the Green Deal the commission plans a regulation framework for a far-reaching restructuring of industry, energy supply, transport and agriculture. It includes a new industry strategy, import hurdles for climate-damaging goods and a strategy for clean traffic. This also includes new emission limit values for cars and the trade in pollution rights in shipping. Pollution rights are to be made more expensive for airlines. The faster expansion of eco-energy is also planned. New regulations will arise for clean air and clean water, an environmental and climate-oriented agrarian reform and a drastic reduction of pesticides and fertilizers are coming up. There is also a plan to reforest and conserve forests.
Von der Leyen wants to initiate green investments for a trillion euros. To support the development of the measures, these extensive funds will be provided to citizens, businesses and member states. Especially, there should be a “just transition mechanism”, says Von der Leyen, a kind of financial aid of more than one hundred billion euros for the change of disadvantaged industries and regions. “Some say that the costs will be too high,” said Von der Leyen, but one shouldn’t forget: “What would it cost if we didn’t act?” Which she is probably right!