European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen is setting the goal for Europe to become the first climate-neutral continent. Just one week ago, world leaders gathered in New York for the UN Climate Action Summit during which major economies failed to deliver the ambition required by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The international community now expects the EU to put a bold long-term climate strategy forward as well as legislation for an enhanced 2030 climate target. All this while leading the diplomatic charge ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.
Adopting a European Green Deal that encompasses the whole government, going beyond the usual environment and climate policies, is this Commission’s best chance to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The world needs more than incremental changes to isolated policies. During the upcoming hearings of the Commissioners-candidates, especially the one of Frans Timmermans, the architect of the European Green Deal, members of the European Parliament will be looking for concrete plans and hard proof that the Commission is aligning all European policies to deliver a climate-neutral EU.
This newsletter takes its point of departure in our E3G Series: Towards a Climate Neutral EU. In it, Pieter de Pous and Rebekka Popp show that industry decarbonisation is key to the clean economy transformation. Yet despite good intentions, Johanna Lehne argues, the internal structure of the Commission might undermine the delivery of just this. Tom Jess and Kate Levick follow the money, highlighting the challenges to financing the transition while also charting a new wave of sustainable finance developments. Luca Bergamaschi looks at Europe’s foreign policy examining the institutional adjustments required to cope with increasing climate impacts. Simon Skillings takes a hard look at the energy sector and the set of reforms required after the completion of the Clean Energy Package. We also look at the much-hyped role of gas. Finally, Rebekka Popp and Lisa Fischer identify key elements for a fair transition benefitting all Europeans.
The global economy is showing dangerous signs of a slowdown and trade wars are re-surfacing. The global environment community have their eyes on Europe, looking for an enduring commitment to climate action and innovative decarbonisation policies that will preserve Europe's long-term prosperity. To ensure Europe is successful at becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent, the new von der Leyen Commission must adopt a European Green Deal that rewires the economy as well as foreign and social policies for a climate-neutral Europe.
Thanks for reading,
Acting Head of Brussels Office