Institut Montaigne and the Genshagen Foundation have launched a series of publications, titled Green Deal Reloaded - perspectives for a sustainable and just transformation of the EU, which reflects on the economic, social and political issues related to the Green Deal in the context of the Covid-19 crisis and recovery plans in Europe.
To mark the imminent conclusion of our series, Pascal Canfin, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, shares his views on a new European model of prosperity.
Europe is currently undergoing an unprecedented shift in its climate policies. When France suggested a 2050 target for carbon neutrality two years ago, only two Member States accepted the challenge. Two years later, this has become the European Union’s official target. What is more, the same target is being followed by the U.S. President Biden and Japan’s new Prime Minister, while China has officially set its climate neutrality goal for 2060.
We are at a historic turning point. On the one hand, we are entering an era of what I call "climate suffering." There have been an increasing number of extreme climatic events such as droughts that put global food security at risk. This started with the world’s poorest countries, which are powder kegs just waiting to go off, and whose reverberations will also be felt here. On the other hand, we are nearing the tipping point where we can see a path forward to avoid the worst. We have most of the solutions needed to take back our destiny. 90% of the new electricity capacity installed worldwide was based on renewable energy in 2019. Thanks to the accelerated end of coal in Europe, CO2 emissions from the energy sector fell by 15% within a single year in 2019. And in 2020 alone, electric car sales in Europe saw a staggering 10-fold increase.
At this point in our history, things can go either way. The decisions we make now will affect our future irremediably. That is why Europe’s Green Deal is such a vital part of showing we can create the virtuous circle of a profound transformation of our economy without fracturing our societies, even on the scale of a continent of 500 million inhabitants.
50 European laws: a paradigm shift to make Europe a green power
But it is not enough to set goals. We must also build a credible path towards achieving them. In 18 months, by the end of 2022, an unprecedented effort will be made to reform more than 50 European laws. These reforms will enable a major paradigm shift to occur in several key issues such as finance, the carbon market, CO2 emission standards for cars, the circular economy, biodiversity, pesticide use and more. By tackling all of the issues simultaneously, these 50 laws are the core of the Green Deal and add credibility to its implementation.