What you need to know about the European Green Deal – and what comes next

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Teresa Belardo, Community Lead, Regional Agenda, Europe, World Economic Forum

  • The European Green Deal is to play an important role in the region’s COVID-19 recovery.
  • The deal aims to cut carbon emissions, achieve economic growth not tied to resource use and ensure no one is left behind.
  • The “Fit for 55” package of additional policies is expected to be announced on 14 July.

Nearly two years after the European Commission launched the European Green Deal in December 2019, the EU’s landscape has changed greatly, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing a contraction of the bloc’s GDP by 6.1% in 2020. Yet as countries continue their vaccination campaigns and focus on economic recovery, there’s hope that the region can rebound. The IMF projects that the Europe’s GDP could return to pre-pandemic levels by 2022.

The European Green Deal has the potential to play a key role not only in ensuring this recovery in the short term but also in addressing long-term climate change threats. The launch of the “Fit for 55” package this week is expected to mark an important step in overhauling climate policies and enabling the EU to deliver on its commitment to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030.

Here’s a look at the deal, what it has achieved so far and what to expect next.

What are the areas of focus?

Ranging across eight policy areas – biodiversity, sustainable food systems, sustainable agriculture, clean energy, sustainable industry, building and renovating, sustainable mobility, eliminating pollution and climate action – the deal represents an unprecedented effort to review more than 50 European laws and redesign public policies.

The deal aims to achieve three main goals. First, it focuses on achieving net-zero emissions by proposing specific strategies that can help curb emissions across all sectors, with a strong focus on energy, which makes up more than 75% of total EU-27’s greenhouses gas. The objective is to increase the share of renewable energy in the EU’s energy mix.

Second, it plans to decouple growth from resource exploitation. While reductions in emissions have been achieved in the last decade, Europe remains one of the major contributors of resource consumption in the world. Described as a “generation-defining task,” achieving this objective will not only require a boost in technological advancements but also rethinking lifestyles, communities, and societies.

Third is the need to foster an inclusive green transition and to leave none behind, supported through the Just Transition Mechanism, which will provide between 65€ and 75€ billion over the period of 2021-2027 to alleviate the socio-economic impacts of the transition.

Image: European Council on Foreign Relations

How is it financed?

The European Commission has envisaged the need for 1 trillion euros of investments, with half coming from the EU budget and EU Emission Trading Scheme and half from Invest EU. The funds will directly support sustainable investments, create the enabling framework to encourage such investments from both the private and public sectors, and help public administrations in identifying, structuring, and executing green investments.

To meet the objective of carbon-neutrality by 2050, the European Commission recently put forward its new Sustainable Finance Strategy to channel private financial flows into relevant sustainable economic activities. The European Commission has also advanced the proposal for high-quality voluntary standard, the European Green Bond Standard, to encourage ambitious large-scale investments while meeting tough sustainability requirements and protecting investors.

What has it achieved so far?

Several noteworthy milestones include:

What’s next?

The “Fit for 55” package, which includes new policies and regulations, is expected to be launched on 14 July and to cover areas including renewables, energy efficiency, building, land use and emissions trading schemes. The package is expected to contain both revisions of existing laws (such as the amendments for the energy taxation directive and the regulation for the CO2 emissions for cars and vans) and the proposal of new legislations (such as the EU Forest Strategy and the ReFuelEUAviation))

The “Fit for 55” package is expected to define new targets for the EU energy mix by 2030 and make the directive legally binding to achieve 32.5% energy savings by 2030. Finally, the package will also provide more detail on the Emission Trading Scheme and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism https://www.youtube.com/embed/unl2SBxH9oo?enablejsapi=1&wmode=transparent

What else needs to be done?

Becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent requires a change in government policies, business strategy and consumer behavior.

The EU Next Generation Fund requirement to devote at least 37% of all national recovery and resilience plans to climate-positive initiatives represents a unique opportunity for governments to ensure a green recovery.

As the focus in the coming years must be on translating the European Green Deal into concrete initiatives, private sector leaders could become real agents of change for the bloc’s green transition. The World Economic Forum’s community of the CEO Action Group for the European Green Deal serves as a platform for business leaders to support concrete plans and promote sustainable practices through lighthouse projects, a series of action-oriented and cross-sectoral initiatives aimed to tackle decarbonization in sectors as varied as food and agriculture, real estate, infrastructure and skills

Consumers are also increasingly stepping up. According a recent survey, more than 70% of EU citizens expect their national governments and the EU to ramp up positive climate actions, and 96% said they would take one personal specific action to help reduce carbon emissions, be it recycling waste, reducing consumption of disposable items or changing dietary habits.

During her Special Address at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020, President of the European Commission Ursula Von Der Leyen, defined the European Green Deal as “Europe’s man on the moon moment.” The region has an important opportunity and obligation to come together to create sustainable, inclusive growth for current and future generations.

To learn more about our CEO Action Group for the European Green Deal, please go to our community page here.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Here’s how to achieve growth in the Middle East and North Africa

UN Security Council condemns Taliban offensive as a blow against ‘sustainable peace’

Facebook and Google to treat Europe as the 51st State of the USA

European Solidarity Corps 2021-2027: First call for proposals to support youth volunteering activities

How music can help children with autism connect

To Bing or Not to Bing? That is the question

Gender equality: an issue much talked about but less acted upon

Terrorism and migrants: the two awful nightmares for Europe and Germany in 2016

Portugal can use its economic recovery to build up resilience

Pharmaceuticals spend millions to push TTIP while consumer groups spend peanuts

The EU Parliament slams Commission on economic governance

An economist explains the pros and cons of globalization

Protecting the front line: the healthcare of health professionals

State aid: Commission approves French scheme deferring payment by airlines of certain taxes to mitigate economic impact of coronavirus outbreak

Low productivity jobs continue to drive employment growth

“Fortress Europe”, “Pegida” and its laughing stocks

New challenge: Not going through “burnout” in times of quarantine

Mental and comportamental health in the pandemic context

An Easter Special: Social protection of migrants in Europe as seen through the eyes of European youth

Pharmaceuticals conceal drug side effects with the EU’s Court blessing

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Mandatory food labelling Non-Vegetarian / Vegetarian / Vegan’ initiative’

Greenery: the miracle cure for urban living

Italy should boost investment in training for the future of work

Sustainable Finance: Commission welcomes the adoption by the European Parliament of the Taxonomy Regulation

Macro-Financial Assistance: Europe’s way to control Ukraine?

Companies can help build a more inclusive world. Here’s how

Joris in Indonesia

5 steps businesses can take to protect air quality after COVID-19

5 charts that show renewable energy’s latest milestone

Devastating storms like Hurricane Florence ‘unusual this far north’: UN weather agency

Inflammation is the fuel that feeds the cancer flame. So how do we fight back?

Digital democracy: a Swiss view on digital trust

Four in five adolescents failing to exercise for even 60 minutes a day, UN health agency warns

Gaza: deadly violence continues to escalate, top UN officials work to restore calm

This is Germany’s $45 billion, 18-year plan to move away from coal

‘Time is of the essence’ for refugees on Greek islands – UN agency

Huawei answers allegations about its selling prices

Break taboo around menstruation, act to end ‘disempowering’ discrimination, say UN experts

Can the whole world live in peace?

From Russia with love: Brussels and Moscow close to an agreement on Ukraine’s gas supplies

Innovations for Content Professionals at the DCX exhibition 2018 in Berlin, in association with The European Sting

EU prolongs economic sanctions on Russia by six months

Business is a crucial partner in solving the mental health challenge

UN chief welcomes event reuniting families on the Korean Peninsula

Rule of Law: Commission launches infringement procedure to protect the independence of the Polish Supreme Court

Auditors say EU spending delivers limited value for money but the timing of their report poses questions

Ebola Outbreak in Democratic Republic Congo is ‘largely contained’: WHO

Mergers: Commission refers acquisition of newly created joint venture by Telefónica and Liberty Global to the UK competition authority

Brexit: visa-free access to the EU for UK nationals and to the UK for Europeans

Statement following the European Medicines Agency review of the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca

“Decisions taken in the coming weeks will shape Europe’s experience of the internet”, Joe Mcnamee from EDRi says live from European Business Summit 2015

We must rethink and repurpose cybersecurity for the COVID-19 era

Free and secure access needed in DR Congo conflict zone to tackle Ebola – WHO

Here’s what keeps CEOs awake at night (and why it might be bad news for your next job)

President Ursula von der Leyen welcomes the first official submission of a recovery and resilience plan by Portugal

THE COMMITTEES: ‘All roads lead to the Fifth’

EU summit: step up work for recovery, and update migration and asylum system

The Bavarians threaten Berlin and Brussels with immigration crisis

EU lawmakers vote to reintroduce visas for Americans over “reciprocity principle”

EU helps tackle air pollution in Kosovo with €76.4 million

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s