Timmermans pushing for a climate-neutral Europe by 2050: report
Dutch European Commissioner Frans Timmermans is pushing to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent, and to achieve this by 2050, according to a 'Green Deal' he and European Commission chairman Ursula von der Leyen will present on Wednesday. The package of measures will overhaul the entire European legislation, the Volkskrant reported on Tuesday.
The plans have a major impact on industry, the transport and energy sector, and agriculture. They vary from renovating millions of homes to make them more energy efficient, to planting 2 billion trees. In order to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, the current goal of 40 percent fewer CO2 emissions by 2030 must be pushed to a 50 to 55 percent reduction in emissions, according to the plans. The exact percentage will be announced in October next year, following a Commission study into the impact this will have on the EU economies.
To ensure that the 'Green Deal' does not lead to dichotomy in Europe and the EU Member States, Timmermans suggests a "fair transition fund" of 100 billion euros. This money must also ensure that the eastern Member States, who fear they will be hit hardest by the sustainability transition, will not block the more far-reaching proposals. "We will not leave anyone behind", the Green Deal states.
Other plans in the Green Deal include tighter emission requirements for light trucks and petrol and diesel cars, 1 million charging points for electric cars installed throughout the EU using EU money, and road pricing or kilometer tax in more places. The Commissioners also propose charging shipping for its emissions via the European emissions trading system, and scrapping part of airlines' free CO2 allowances.
Apart from transport, the plans include a 'Clean Steel' plan, stating that steel must be produced without CO2 emissions from 2030. To protect European companies against unfair competition, there will be a CO2 tax on products from polluting foreign companies. There will also be an action plan for the production of clean batteries, and a push for a 'farm to table' strategy for more sustainable agriculture. The Commission also wants the European Investment Bank to release 1,000 billion euros in green investments in the market in the next ten years.
The ambitions in Timmermans' Green Deal will be worked out into legislative proposals over the next two years. These proposals will then have to be approved by th EU Member States.