The Green Deal is the European Commission’s plan to make the European Union climate neutral by 2050. This means that Europe wants to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions must therefore be drastically reduced, and what would be emitted by 2050 must be immediately absorbed or compensated, for example through forests or new technology. Europe would thus become the first climate-neutral continent in the world.
It is a real revolution and it will not be easy. Europe must get rid of fossil fuels, that will change everything: how we produce, how we heat our houses, how we move.
Europe wants to allocate a lot of money to it and to ensure that no one is left behind.
Commission President von der Leyen sees the Green Deal as a growth strategy. The deal must create new jobs and make Europe a technological frontrunner. While Europe is only responsible for 9% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the Green Deal can show the rest of the world that a healthy economy and a healthy climate can go together, she says, is possible. As an institution, the Commission itself wants to be climate neutral by 2030.
This applies to all sectors. From energy to agriculture, from renovation of buildings to packaging material, from public transport to the banking sector. Legislative proposals, action plans and measures will be introduced for each sector to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
For starters, energy production must become low-carbon. Energy accounts for three-quarters of the emissions. This means that massive investments in renewable energy are required, for example in offshore wind farms.
Industry should use much less new raw materials, but much more to recycle or reuse. For example, the Commission wants new regulations for packaging by 2030, which should be as recyclable or biodegradable as possible by then.
Europe also wants as many buildings as possible to be renovated and to be energy efficient. That should create more jobs in the construction sector, and that also means that less energy is needed to heat those buildings.
Emissions from cars, trucks, boats, ships and aircraft must also be reduced. The Commission is in favor of road pricing, the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies, and aims to increase inland waterways and rail transport.
To give electric cars a boost, the Commission wants to have many charging stations installed. Europe also wants to research new technologies, such as hydrogen. All these measures must also ensure that the air is cleaner.
The green deal will cost Thousand billion euros. To be published between now and 2030.
Half of that, 500 billion, comes from the European budget. An investment program EUInvest is going to make 300 billion euros in investments, both from private money and from public money. The last 200 billion comes from the European Investment Bank.
The first step is European climate law. If the climate law is passed, the objective of being climate neutral by 2050 will be laid down in the law. According to Climate Commissioner Timmermans, that law should “keep the Member States on the ball”. Countries that are not on the right track can be brought to court, or can face fines.
We know in thirty years that the Green Deal is a grandly announced plan, an intention, a long-term vision of whether Europe will indeed become the first climate-neutral continent in the world.