The European Green Deal is an effort to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent. It’s a big challenge and a great opportunity for growth that requires a big commitment. On an economic level, it involves high investments of around 260 billion euros per year until 2030.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) recently brought together leaders from all over the planet in Madrid to discuss and decide on the next steps in the fight against the climate emergency and especially the air pollution emissions of CO₂. As many have recalled, the objectives of the United Nations Agenda 2030 are far from being fulfilled. The situation is most urgent.
Fortunately, renewable energies are presented as one of the most direct solutions in the fight against CO₂ emissions. New and alarming figures have been announced about climate in what is already considered a “record decade in the exceptional temperature records”, as National Geographic has called it. The commitment that some countries are going to take in this fight will mean a great effort for everyone and also a great opportunity for the development of renewable energy worldwide, and especially in Europe.
THE EUROPEAN GREEN DEAL IN ACTION
The European Green Deal sets out how to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, boosting the economy, improving people’s health and quality of life, caring for nature and leaving no one behind.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, explained that at this crossroads Europe can show that it is capable of overcoming the difficulties: “This is Europe’s man on the moon moment,” said in reference to last century’s efforts to make the first astronauts’ arrival on the Moon possible.
The European Green Deal consists of a series of major proposals, important commitments and a detailed roadmap. Among other things it includes:
- A Just Transition Mechanism to help countries that are still most dependent on fossil fuels to make the transition to renewable forms of energy.
- Proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to half of 1990 levels or even more by 2030.
- A law that will direct the European Union towards the goal of being «climate neutral» by 2050.
As the EU itself explains, achieving carbon neutrality will require huge investments in renewable energy. The economic effort to achieve the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40% by 2030 – even beyond the objective set globally at COP25 – is estimated, according to this document, to require 260 billion euros of additional annual investment until 2030.
This reduction in emissions must be achieved in different areas. Emissions trading will allow companies that pollute less to pay less, which will encourage more clean energy generation. In the transport sector, it involves the transition to electric cars, which by 2030 shall consume 4.5% of European electricity, compared to 0.03% in 2014.
The Global solar PV market outlook update Q1 2020 by Wood Mackenzie analysts highlights 2020 to see a big jump in solar photovoltaic installations. In particular, they state that “Europe will deliver strong growth, averaging 23.6 GW per year in the first half of the 2020s”.
Globally, at least 70 countries have shown their intention to achieve the goal of a “zero carbon footprint”. For many it will mean rethinking once and for all how they produce and consume energy, both politically and industrially, while dramatically reducing their dependence on fossil fuels and coal.
Unlike the Paris Agreement, which came out with tepid commitments that were then broken – without any kind of penalty for those who did not commit or withdrew – at COP25 the commitments of the European Green Deal have above all clear actions, dates and investments. The way to do this is by setting shorter deadlines for reducing emissions and to a greater extent, not just by merely freezing emissions.
Never before in our recent history have we faced such an ambitious and vital challenge. Finding a solution to climate change and achieving the goals requires a radical change and a strong commitment from all groups in society.
Change is never easy, but always possible.
– Barack Obama, President of the United States (2015)