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The European Union launches its roadmap for greening




The European Commission plans to end the use of new petrol cars in 2035 (photo: F.Dubessy)
The European Commission plans to end the use of new petrol cars in 2035 (photo: F.Dubessy)
EU. On Wednesday 14 July 2021, the European Commission adopted an arsenal of proposals "to make the EU's climate, energy, land use, transport and taxation policies", as stated in a press release. These measures would make it possible to achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the EU of at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. They are part of the desire, expressed by its Member States in the Green Deal (presented in December 2019), to make Europe the first continent to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
 
The European Commission refers to the need for these future legislative instruments - whose approval is yet to be confirmed by the European Parliament - to "fundamentally transform our economy and society for a fair, green and prosperous future".
 
“The fossil fuel economy has reached its limits. We want to leave the next generation a healthy planet as well as good jobs and growth that does not hurt our nature. … Europe walks the talk on climate policies through innovation, investment and social compensation,” commented Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

"Reshaping our energy system"

Applying emissions trading to new sectors, strengthening the EU's existing emissions trading scheme, increasing the use of renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, faster deployment of low-emission transport modes and related infrastructure and fuel policies, matching fiscal policies to the European Green Deal targets, measures to prevent carbon leakage, tools to preserve and expand the capacity of natural carbon sinks... The proposals presented on 14 July 2021 constitute a package for achieving the objectives set.
 
The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which has already led to a 42.8% reduction in emissions from the power generation and energy-intensive industries over the past 16 years, could see the overall emissions cap lowered and the annual reduction rate increased. The Commission also suggests phasing out free emission allowances for aviation and including emissions from shipping in the ETS for the first time. At the same time, all revenues from emissions trading should be used for climate and energy projects.
 
On the other hand, a proposal intends to raise the production target to 40% of energy from renewable sources by 2030. In addition, the public sector will have to renovate 3% of its buildings each year to promote energy savings, but also to create jobs and reduce energy consumption and costs for the taxpayer.
 
"Reaching the Green Deal goals will not be possible without reshaping our energy system – this is where most of our emissions are generated. To achieve climate-neutrality by 2050, we need to turn the renewables evolution into a revolution and make sure no energy is wasted along the way," says energy commissioner Kadri Simson.

144.4bn Social Climate Fund

A new Social Climate Fund is also proposed to allocate specific resources to Member States to help Europeans finance their investments in renovation, new heating and cooling systems and cleaner mobility. It will be allocated €72.2bn from the EU budget for the period 2025-2032. This amount could be doubled by a similar commitment from Member States, giving the fund a capacity to mobilise €144.4bn.
 
The Commission also wants to impose a reduction in average emissions from new cars of 55% from 2030 and 100% from 2035 compared to 2021 levels. This means that petrol and diesel cars will be banned from dealerships in less than 15 years. This is accompanied by an incentive to increase the infrastructure for alternative fuels and in particular the number of recharging and refuelling points for zero-emission vehicles at a rate of one every sixty kilometres for electric vehicles and one every 150 kilometres for hydrogen vehicles on the main roads.
 
A new Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism will set a carbon price for imports of certain products "to ensure that ambitious climate action in Europe does not lead to ‘carbon leakage'”, the European Commission said. "In full respect of our WTO commitments, this will ensure that our climate ambition is not undermined by foreign firms subject to more lax environmental requirements. It will also encourage greener standards outside our borders. This is the ultimate now or never moment. With every passing year the terrible reality of climate change becomes more apparent: today we confirm our determination to act before it is really too late," insists Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni.
 
"This is the make-or-break decade in the fight against the climate and biodiversity crises. The European Union has set ambitious targets and today we present how we can meet them. Getting to a green and healthy future for all will require considerable effort in every sector and every Member State. Together, our proposals will spur the necessary changes, enable all citizens to experience the benefits of climate action as soon as possible, and provide support to the most vulnerable households. Europe's transition will be fair, green and competitive", says Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the European Green Deal.
 

Eric Apim


Thursday, July 15th 2021



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