EU Commission unveils ‘European Green Deal’ - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15053612
The European Commission unveiled its hotly anticipated European Green Deal on Wednesday (11 October), outlining a long list of policy initiatives aimed at putting Europe on track to reach net-zero global warming emissions by 2050.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen outlined the European Green Deal today (11 December), vowing to “leave no-one behind” in the race to achieve a climate neutral economy by 2050.

“This is Europe’s man on the moon moment,” she said in a video statement. “Our goal is to reconcile the economy with our planet” and “to make it work for our people,” she added, describing climate policy as Europe’s new growth strategy.

Europe wants to be a front-runner in climate friendly industries and clean technologies, the former German defence minister explained, adding: “I am convinced that the old growth model based on fossil fuels and pollution is out of date and out of touch with our planet”.

Here are the 10 main points in the Commission plan:

1. ‘Climate neutral’ Europe. This is the overarching objective of the European Green Deal. The EU will aim to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a goal that will be enshrined in a ‘Climate Law’ to be presented in March 2020.

That means updating the EU’s climate ambition for 2030, with a 50-55% cut in greenhouse gas emissions to replace the current 40% objective. The 55% figure will be subject to a cost-benefit analysis.

The Commission wants to leave no stone unturned and plans to review every EU law and regulation in order to align them with the new climate goals. This will start with the Renewable Energy Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive, but also the Emissions Trading Directive and the Effort Sharing Regulation, as well as the infamous LULUCF directive dealing with land use change. Proposals there will be submitted as part of a package in March 2021.

A plan for “smart sector integration”, bringing together the electricity, gas and heating sectors closer together “in one system”, will be presented in 2020. This will come with a new initiative to harness “the enormous potential” of offshore wind, officials said.

2. Circular economy. A new circular economy action plan will be tabled in March 2020, as part of a broader EU industrial strategy. It will include a sustainable product policy with “prescriptions on how we make things” in order to use less materials, and ensure products can be reused and recycled.

Carbon-intensive industries like steel, cement and textiles, will also focus the attention under the new circular economy plan. One key objective is to prepare for “clean steelmaking” using hydrogen by 2030, an EU official said. “Why 2030? Because if you want clean industry in 2050, 2030 is the last investment cycle,” he said.

New legislation will also be presented in 2020 to make batteries reusable and recyclable.

3. Building renovation. This is meant to be one of the flagship programmes of the Green Deal. The key objective there is to “at least double or even triple” the renovation rate of buildings, which currently stands at around 1%.

4. Zero-pollution. Whether in air, soil or water, the objective is to reach a “pollution-free environment” by 2050. New initiatives there include a chemical strategy for a “toxic-free environment”.

5. Ecosystems & biodiversity. A new biodiversity strategy will be presented in March 2020, in the run-up to a UN biodiversity summit taking place in China in October. “Europe wants to lead by example” with new measures to address the main drivers of biodiversity loss, an EU official said. That includes measures to tackle soil and water pollution as well as a new forest strategy. “We need more trees in Europe,” the official said, both in cities and in the countryside. New labelling rules will be tabled to promote deforestation-free agricultural products.

6. Farm to fork strategy. To be tabled in Spring 2020, the new strategy will aim for a “green and healthier agriculture” system. This includes plans to “significantly reduce the use of chemical pesticides, fertilisers and antibiotics,” an EU official said. New national strategic plans due to be submitted next year by member states under the Common Agricultural Policy will be scrutinised to see whether they are aligned with the objectives of the Green Deal.

7. Transport. One year after the EU agreed new CO2 emission standards for cars, the automotive sector is once again in the Commission’s firing line. The current objective is to reach 95gCO2/km by 2021. Now, “we need to work towards zero,” sometime in the 2030s an EU official said.

Electric vehicles will be further encouraged with an objective of deploying 1 million public charging points across Europe by 2025. “Every family in Europe needs to be able to drive their electric car without having to worry about the next charging station,” the official explained.

“Sustainable alternative fuels” – biofuels and hydrogen – will be promoted in aviation, shipping and heavy duty road transport where electrification is currently not possible.

8. Money. To “leave no-one behind,” the Commission proposes a Just Transition Mechanism to help regions most heavily dependent on fossil fuels. “We have the ambition to mobilise €100 billion precisely targeted to the most vulnerable regions and sectors,” said von der Leyen as she presented the Green Deal today.

The proposed €100bn instrument has three legs:

- A just transition fund that will mobilise resources from the EU’s regional policy budget;

- The “InvestEU” programme, with money coming from the European Investment Bank;

- EIB funding coming from the EU bank’s own capital.

Every euro spent from the fund could be complemented by 2 or 3 euros coming from the region. EU’s state aid guidelines will be reviewed in that context so that national governments are able to directly support investments in clean energy, with blessing from the Commission’s powerful competition directorate.

Regions will also be offered technical assistance in order to help them “absorb” the funds while respecting the EU’s strict spending rules.

However, any state aid would have to be vetted by the Commission as part of new regional transition plans submitted beforehand to Brussels.

9. R&D and innovation. With a proposed budget of €100bn over the next seven years (2021-2027), the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme will also contribute to the Green Deal. 35% of the EU’s research funding will be set aside for climate-friendly technologies under an agreement struck earlier this year. And a series of EU research “moonshots” will focus chiefly on environmental objectives.

10. External relations. Finally, EU diplomatic efforts will be mobilised in support of the Green Deal. One measure likely to attract attention – and controversy – is a proposal for a carbon border tax. As Europe increases its climate ambitions, “we expect the rest of the world to play its role too,” an EU official explained. But if not, Europe is “not going to be naïve,” and will protect its industry against unfair competition, he added.

To lead by example, the EU Commission itself will aim for climate neutrality by 2030. “That’s a bold objective, but after all we don’t make steel so we might have an easier job,” the official said.

Source


Since 1990, the EU's GHG emissions have been reduced from around 15% to about 8.5% of global emissions. Even if the EU can reduce it's emissions by 55% by 2030 and reach climate neutrality by 2050, that's not going to save the planet if other regions of the world keep on polluting even worse than before.

Unsurprisingly, the worst offender is the US, followed by the KSA. It is noteworthy that Australia, Canada and New Zealand are also among the worst offenders. With the exception of a couple of new members from Eastern Europe, most EU members range among the best performers of the Climate Change Performance Index:

Image

Climate Change Performance Index
#15053618
The market in Europe is moving very fast and the previous overhead of using green energy is rapidly becoming a saving. Two hydrogen powered steel foundries are now running to trial the replacement of Coke. Consumers are just starting to switch to electric vehicles in a big way.

I'm actually more optimistic now that the world will move to renewables swiftly than I was a few years ago. I'm also certain it won't be swift enough.

There are clues in the global markets that show these energy tipping points are being reached. Coal consumption fell this year for the first time in decades. Global oil and gas prices are falling below the level that makes many forms of extraction viable all because the expected demand isn't there.

It's my firm belief that going green is no longer solely a desire to reduce carbon emissions, it's becoming the most cost effective source of energy.
#15054029
BeesKnee5 wrote:It's my firm belief that going green is no longer solely a desire to reduce carbon emissions, it's becoming the most cost effective source of energy.


True, but there are going to be losers and winners. Among the losers there will be the petrodollar and major oil producers, especially KSA, Russia, Venezuela, etc. Among the winners, there will be innovative countries that pioneer green technology.

This will be the great equalizer. Nations will thrive by the ingenuity of their people and not by the accidents of geography or by imperial conquest.

In the meantime, we have to introduce a carbon border tax to protect domestic industry against unfair competition from the polluters.

MAKE THE PLANET GREAT AGAIN. That is a war we cannot afford to lose.

Europe threatens U.S. with carbon tariffs to combat climate change

“It’s not whether it’s going to happen — it’s going to happen,” former Secretary of State John Kerry predicts.

MADRID — European countries frustrated by inaction on climate change are taking a lesson from President Donald Trump’s trade wars — and threatening carbon tariffs on laggards like the United States.

By imposing tariffs on goods from the U.S. and other countries that lack tough climate policies, the Europeans would help their own industries avoid being handicapped by the EU’s greenhouse gas efforts. But if they hit the U.S., they would risk a worsening trade war with the Trump administration, which has already threatened hefty tariffs on goods such as French champagne and German autos over a range of competition disputes.

Potential carbon tariffs have been an active topic at the United Nations climate conference that wraps up this weekend in Madrid, where nearly 200 nations have been at odds over how to counter the continued global rise of greenhouse gas emissions. And some diplomats say it’s inevitable that governments will turn to trade barriers in the effort to fight climate change.

The European Union charges a fee of 25 euros — nearly $28 — per metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted by EU companies such as oil refineries, steelmakers and paper producers. Because other major economies such as the U.S. refuse to set a carbon price for their own industries, the EU’s approach risks making many European companies uncompetitive, and it has prompted calls for a “border adjustment” tariff based on imports’ climate impact in their home countries.

Spanish Economics Minister Nadia Calviño Santamaría told reporters at the U.N. conference that she wants a carbon tariff “as soon as possible” that would target any country that doesn't abide by its commitments under the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Trump has said he intends to pull the U.S. out of the pact next year.

“We need to ensure that climate policy does not create an unlevel playing field between those players which operate in jurisdictions which have higher standards and those that maybe do not," Calviño said.

Neither the White House nor the U.S. trade representative's office replied to a request for comment, though a senior U.S. official at the U.N. talks said tax issues "are of great concern to us.”

Senate Energy Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she hoped the EU would step back from efforts to raise tariffs. “One would have thought we were all done with the escalation,” said Murkowski, who led the effort that lifted a ban on U.S. crude oil exports in 2015.

Some European leaders have expressed concern about the idea, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who on Friday stressed the need for the EU to proceed cautiously or risk escalating trade tensions.

"Countries that have not expressed a similar commitment to climate protection as we have could consider this as a kind of protectionist measure," she told reporters in Brussels.

EU leaders similarly did not back a proposal to begin setting up a tariff that was included under the European Commission's Green Deal plan at their gathering on Friday in Brussels. But the effort appeared to be gaining momentum.

Nations that want to avoid carbon tariffs can simply enact their own tough climate policies, some European leaders say.

“If you take the same, or comparable, measures there will be no need to correct anything at the border," said European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans. “If you don’t, then of course, at some point we will have to protect our industries.”

The potential rift comes as the World Trade Organization has been set adrift this week when the terms of two judges on its appellate panel expired. The United States has blocked the appointment of new judges, a move that effectively gutted the power of the global trade referee to rule on disputes between countries.

Merkel’s caution is in line with the calls from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for a carbon border tax that fully complies with global trade rules, as she laid out in a set of political priorities issued before she took up her post this month.

France, the most vocal carbon tariff supporter, has drawn backing from countries such as Spain. They have persuaded Germany to reconsider the idea after years of resistance, though many in the German business community remain opposed.

"I see explicitly the danger of talking about a carbon border tax. I don't think that's a good idea," said Holger Lösch, deputy director general of the Federation of German Industries.

International energy-intensive industries such as aluminium, steel and chemicals are driving much of the discussion, said Dirk Forrister, executive director of the International Emissions Trading Association. Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, has for years called for a carbon levy, arguing that the EU’s emissions trading system puts homegrown businesses at a disadvantage against international rivals that don’t pay carbon fees.

Forrister said the European Commission has had to consider protective measures for those sectors as it attempts to push through a target to achieve economy-wide net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 while major competitors in China and the U.S., the world’s top two emitters, have yet to implement such regimes.

"The trade dimensions are getting more serious and this is a logical equal and opposite reaction to those concerns,” Forrister said. “As time moves on, if you aren’t getting that result [through the Paris agreement] then you would expect these tariff questions to come up more and more."
#15054145
I am glad to see the European version of the Green Deal is all about the environment. The US Green New Deal included a social justice warrior agenda, which included this language:

to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this resolution as ‘‘frontline and vulnerable communities’’

providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States, with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities

guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States
#15054176
Atlantis wrote:.
This will be the great equalizer. Nations will thrive by the ingenuity of their people and not by the accidents of geography or by imperial conquest.

I wish this was true but I don't think it is.

The people will suffer based on their location regardless of who generated the CO2 and who chooses green energy. Accidents of geography will be the he biggest factor.

Already this is playing out and it's only going to get worse.
#15054206
Robert Urbanek wrote:I am glad to see the European version of the Green Deal is all about the environment. The US Green New Deal included a social justice warrior agenda, which included this language:

to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this resolution as ‘‘frontline and vulnerable communities’’

providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States, with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities

guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States

The fiends! >:
#15054210
Robert Urbanek wrote:I am glad to see the European version of the Green Deal is all about the environment. The US Green New Deal included a social justice warrior agenda, which included this language:

to promote justice and equity by ...


That is an erroneous understanding. The EU's green deal includes provisions for social justice. Anyways, the EU and/or its members already spends far more on social justice and on compensation for de-industrialization than the US. So, the matter isn't as urgent. The social market economy of continental Europe has avoided the pitfalls of neoliberals in the US and the UK, that have led to the right-wing populist uprisings of Trump and Brexit.

Bernie Sander's green deal is just a vague statements of intent, while the EU's green deal proposes concrete measures and decides on fixed targets.

BeesKnee5 wrote:I wish this was true but I don't think it is.

The people will suffer based on their location regardless of who generated the CO2 and who chooses green energy. Accidents of geography will be the he biggest factor.

Already this is playing out and it's only going to get worse.


I'm talking about opportunity. We will no longer be hostage to those who monopolize energy resources due to geographical/historical accidents or imperial conquests. Europe has the potential for enough wing energy to power the whole world. If Europe has the technology to become independent of foreign energy resources, then other parts of the worlds can do the same by using the same technology.

It goes without saying that climate change is a global phenomena and that those who will suffer most are not necessarily those who caused the problem. That's why the international community needs to build a united front against those who prevent measures against climate change. We need to name and shame the worst offenders who aim to prevent an international consensus:

- US
- KSA
- Brazil
- Austrialia, etc.

And when shaming is not enough, the international community needs to put punitive carbon tariffs on these countries. Future trade agreements will have to include provisions for social and environmental protection.
#15054255
I believe that stuffing social justice priorities into a climate change proposal does a disservice to environmentalism because it reinforces the right-wing narrative that the climate change issue is just a cover for a “globalist Marxist agenda.”
#15054283
Robert Urbanek wrote:I believe that stuffing social justice priorities into a climate change proposal does a disservice to environmentalism because it reinforces the right-wing narrative that the climate change issue is just a cover for a “globalist Marxist agenda.”


Indeed, well spotted, I would go as far as to say that in some cases these social justice priorities are even being tabled by the conservative parties, Merkel being the most obvious example, the Tories being another but most of Northern Europe is like that as well.
#15054299
Robert Urbanek wrote:I believe that stuffing social justice priorities into a climate change proposal does a disservice to environmentalism because it reinforces the right-wing narrative that the climate change issue is just a cover for a “globalist Marxist agenda.”


If coal miners or steel workers lose their jobs because of measures against climate change, any green deal needs to include measure for restructuring old industries. It is the discontented who lost well-paying jobs in the rust belt of the US or the de-industrialized North of the UK that are driving right-wing populism. The result is that Trump's America is leading the charge against the climate agreement in Madrid.
#15054591
By reduced do you mean outsourced? If you count the embedded emissions of our imports and the international flights and ships that we pretend have nothing to do with us then we've cut nothing.
#15054613
AFAIK wrote:By reduced do you mean outsourced? If you count the embedded emissions of our imports and the international flights and ships that we pretend have nothing to do with us then we've cut nothing.


Do you mean that the EU is the only body in the world that needs to count imports in addition to exports?

If we count imports, for example of smartphones from China, as European emissions, then we ought to count exports, for example of German cars to China, as Chinese emissions.

Before you sort out your double accounting, let's just use the accounting that is current international practice.
#15054648
You haven't reduced manufacturing emissions by relocating them. It's like people who criticise China for having polluted rivers whilst patting themselves on the back for disposing of their waste responsibly, by shipping it to China.
#15054678
AFAIK wrote:You haven't reduced manufacturing emissions by relocating them. It's like people who criticise China for having polluted rivers whilst patting themselves on the back for disposing of their waste responsibly, by shipping it to China.


The UK (and US) has off-shored manufacturing. That's why you have a deficit in goods trade because you have a services-based economy. Most of continental countries (except for France, which traditionally has a large agricultural sector) still have a lot of manufacturing. If you want to replace a consumption-based emissions accounting to replace the production-based accounting, then we have to count some of Germany's emissions as the UK's emissions and some Chinese emissions as American emissions. Try to explain that to Trump.

Getting a consensus on climate change is hard enough as it is, the complications you propose aren't helpful.
#15054682
Atlantis wrote:
And when shaming is not enough, the international community needs to put punitive carbon tariffs on these countries. Future trade agreements will have to include provisions for social and environmental protection.



Interesting.

Do you have a source that describes this in greater detail?
#15054687
France can hold it's head high since almost all it's electricity comes from nuclear and hydro. Germany uses brown coal and cheats on emissions tests whilst dismantling nuclear.

Don't boast about emission reduction if you're going to put your fingers in your ears when we point to palm oil plantations and bio-fuel imports being responsible for mass deforestation.
#15054716
late wrote:Interesting.

Do you have a source that describes this in greater detail?


A carbon border tax is an option in the EU's green deal. If European companies have to pay for their carbon emissions they need to be protected against unfair competition from countries that don't implement their commitments (or refuse to make strong commitments) under the Climate Agreement. At the moment this is being discussed, with countries like France and Spain being strong advocates while the Germans take a cautious approach. Anyways, if the US, China and other major GHG emitter don't commit to GHG reductions, the EU has no choice but to implement a carbon border tax. China and the US have already warned the EU against imposing such a tax.

Here is one of many articles on the topic Why Europe should champion a carbon border tax

@AFAIK, the fact is (as is clear from the Madrid summit) that the EU is the only major economic area taking actions to reduce its GHG emissions. Poor countries are obviously on-board because they expect to be payed. But major GHG emitters including the US, China, Australia, Mexico, Brasil, Japan, etc., are either completely opposed or try to avoid making any commitments.

As of now, the EU is responsible for about 8.5% of global emissions. Even if the EU succeeds in reducing emissions by half in 2030, that won't make any difference if the rest of the world continues to emit as before. It can only work if others follow the EU lead.

Now, I perfectly understand what you mean about outsourcing; however, that is irrelevant in the current context. Europe has lost steel jobs because China is dumping its products on global markets. According to your logic, Europe should be responsible for Chinese emissions from steel production after it has already suffered job losses due to Chinese dumping. So, you want us to pay twice while the Chinese are racking in the profits.

The European green deal is going to put an even bigger burden on European steel industry. That would allow China to conquer even more market share if it does not sign up to the same commitments. In other words, your arguments makes it impossible for Europe to impose stricter emission targets. The effect of your ideological fanaticism is that we abandon the fight against climate change.

As to your gripe about nuclear, that just seems to reflect a bout of bad temper, since you are running out of arguments. Nuclear energy delays the introduction of renewable energy. Germany has committed to getting out of nuclear and coal, while other countries are planning dozens of new coal plants and Australia has no plans to stop mining coal.
#15054772
AFAIK wrote:France can hold it's head high since almost all it's electricity comes from nuclear and hydro. Germany uses brown coal and cheats on emissions tests whilst dismantling nuclear.

Don't boast about emission reduction if you're going to put your fingers in your ears when we point to palm oil plantations and bio-fuel imports being responsible for mass deforestation.
France is up shit creek without a paddle if it doesn't get it's act together.

Those nuclear power plants are all getting on and they've barely started with replacing them. 14 will close on the next 10-15 years and there is no new ones planned beyond the debacle at flamenville which is eleven years late and still not up and running.
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