Climate change and the “green deal”: the EU at a cross-road

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The European climate objectives of the green deal are widely shared and consensual among the EU leaders and newly elected European legislators in the Parliament. Commission insisted that the goals of climate protection and nature conservation would remain unchanged for the next several years. After consultation with industry and farmers, the Commission has “proposed actions to ensure proper and simplified implementation of the European green deal”.  

The demands of the European green revolution in the coming years are obvious: the ambitions include, e.g. a legal obligation to set new climate goals for 2035 and 2040 after the next Commission College is formed, followed by a tougher approach to farming emissions, public financing to stimulate clean energy investment, an industrial strategy to boost homegrown green technology, as well as far more generous welfare to cushion the blow to the poorest communities and those most affected by the “twin transition” (i.e. green and digital).
Most vital is that the climate objectives of the green deal are widely shared and consensual among the European legislators. Commission insisted that the goals of climate protection and nature conservation remained unchanged; consultation with industry and farmers has led to the Commission’s “proposing actions to ensure proper and simplified implementation of the European green deal”, noted Karl Mathiesen recently.
Reference to: Politico, 4June 2024.

Commission’s challenges

Backing the goals of the green deal and some aspects of industrial strategy, the main EP parties have already been almost unanimously that the EU should no longer “pick winners” in the fight against climate change, that farmers are to be protected from “top-down approaches”, and on top of that – the market must decide.
For example, some politicians in the main European Peoples Party, EPP are still trying to tear down the Commission’s already enacted policies, including overturning the post-2035 ban on the sale of combustion engine cars. And so have been with the ideas of restoration of 30 percent of Europe’s degraded land and seascapes; farming groups claimed that the move “was green lands grab”. However, during the so-called behind-the-scenes compromise, the amount of land and sea to be restored was reduced from 30 percent to 20 percent, and that made it voluntary for farmers. Besides, the EPP’ representatives in the European Parliament voted against Commission’s landmark nature law.

The present continental scene is challenging: there are two wars in which the EU is taking part, farmers’ uprising in numerous member states, etc. On top of this, Europe is “baking” in the hottest year in recorded human history. The first in the world’s continental package of climate laws and measures, popularly known as the “green deal” is supposed to make a difference.

The Commission’s numerous concessions to polluting industries, farmers and political supporters (e.g. the center-right European People’s Party, EPP) which, however, have led a brutal revolt against some parts of the EU-wide green agenda. Nethertheless, the green deal has to be implemented: the question now is whether a new Commission “would back the climate cause so strongly” in the new College.

Karl Mathiesen in recent Politico mentioned that when the Commission first announced the green deal at the end of 2019, it was like “Europe’s man on the moon moment”; however, it turned out to be far harder and more expensive than the Apollo program.
Citation from:

It is quite notable, that about 5-6 EU member states, as well as about half of voters in 12 EU countries said they believed the Commission wants to increase the prices of petrol and energy in their country to help with climate change. Until the new Commission’s College starts its work at the end of 2024, it is Frans Timmermans, the socialist in charge of the Commission and the EU-wide climate policy.
Already from the outset, there was “unsolicited lesson in arithmetic”: the EU agreed to lower emissions by a specific amount this decade, so if automakers were to get a free ride, should it be the farmers who do more, or should it be added to the cost of home heating?

The Commission has made an embarrassing retreat during the last weeks in power: the College rewrote some proposals affecting farmers and a passage on “in-house modeling that showed it was possible for agriculture to make large emissions cuts”. The College also scrapped a separate legal proposal to slash the use of pesticides and watered down green requirements attached to the EU’s main agricultural subsidy program.
It is quite remarkable, that the green deal figured in present Commission’s president’s speeches as only “an engine of Europe’s industrial renewal”; e.g. “we stand for pragmatic solutions, not ideological ones”, she once said.



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