Green Deal to see Europe become ‘first climate-neutral continent by 2050’

The European Green Deal sets out a plan for sustainable growth, promising to boost the region’s wider economy, improve health and quality of life and protect the environment

Festival Net Zero 2021

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The European Green Deal pledges to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

It sees policymakers set out a plan for sustainable growth, promising to boost the region’s wider economy, improve health and quality of life and protect the environment and natural ecosystems, all while ensuring no part of society is left behind in the transition.

The ‘roadmap’ aims to turn climate and environmental challenges into opportunities “across all policy areas” in a fair and inclusive way – it plans to tackle climate change, reverse biodiversity losses and cut pollution of all kinds –  it notes new investments and financing tools will be needed to make this possible across all sectors, including transport, energy, agriculture, buildings and vital industries.

The European Commissions says within 100 days, it will outline its first ‘European Climate Law’ and also commits to delivering a Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the new Industrial Strategy and Circular Economy Action Plan, the Farm to Fork Strategy for sustainable food, proposals for a pollution-free Europe and work towards stepping up Europe’s 2030 emissions targets.

It forecasts in order to reach existing 2030 climate and energy targets, €260 billion (£219bn) of additional annual investment will be needed – the EU will publish a Sustainable Europe Investment Plan in 2020 to help meet these requirements.

The roadmap suggests a quarter of the EU’s long-term budget should be dedicated to climate action and highlights it will receive support in this area from the European Investment Bank.

A Green Financing Strategy to be published in 2020 will help direct private capital flows, while a Just Transition Mechanism is expected to support regions that rely heavily on highly carbon intensive activities and will support the vulnerable citizens with re-skilling and employment programmes – a ‘Climate Pact’ early next year will also give citizens more of a voice and a role in going green.

Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “We are in a climate and environmental emergency. The European Green Deal is an opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of our people by transforming our economic model. Our plan sets out how to cut emissions, restore the health of our natural environment, protect our wildlife, create new economic opportunities and improve the quality of life of our citizens.

“We all have an important part to play and every industry and country will be part of this transformation. Moreover, our responsibility is to make sure that this transition is a just transition, and that nobody is left behind as we deliver the European Green Deal.”

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