The talk of market-based solutions is too little too late, if it were 2000 not 2020 perhaps a steady change could work but not anymore. We need drastic action.
Ursula von der Leyen is proposing the EU reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels, giving the EU new direction, much needed after the chaos and nationalism of the 2010s. To achieve this, Brussels must go big.
Through Next Generation EU funding, Europe-wide projects should be planned and invested, funded through European taxes on carbon, financial trading, and single-use plastic. This Next Generation funding is a major step forward in monetary and fiscal union for the EU; first comes collective borrowing, next comes collective taxes to pay.
The European People’s Party has long endorsed a Europe-wide energy grid. To realise this, the commission must be ambitious and utilise the sun of the southern states with the creation of massive solar farms and harness the wind and rain of the northern states for tidal and wind energy. Using the vast plains of Portugal, Spain and, less so, Romania, Bulgaria, and Italy alongside the storms and wind of the Baltic could transform Europe.
The creation of an EU-wide green energy grid would significantly reduce emissions from coal, oil, and gas plants, in keeping with the EU emission targets.
Creating this grid would tackle energy bills, create much-needed jobs in Southern member states, improve air quality, and give Europe a renewed sense of common purpose and unity. Within this political climate, a more united and cohesive EU could look outward as this plan tackled its internal issues of power imbalance and climate change.
This project would address many issues within the EU: giving the EU common purpose and goal will increase support for the EU among Europe’s citizens and create a simple, more positive case for Europe. This is the kind of integration Brussels should focus on common-sense, common-purpose projects which help citizens.
A project of this scale could significantly contribute to European energy independence, meaning less dependence on Russian gas and Middle Eastern hydrocarbons.
Green energy alongside a safe, reliable nuclear energy programme could lead to this. Energy independence would have significant geopolitical benefits including a freer hand to pressure Russian and Middle Eastern governments on democracy and human rights.
Investing in technology to remove the carbon already in the atmosphere is also crucial, or simply planting more trees to sink carbon. This would also significantly reduce Europe’s carbon footprint, giving Brussels a strong voice in Climate Change discussions globally.
China recognises the threat of climate change to its internal stability so is likely to act decisively. If the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China deems something a threat, expect swift action. For America, pray for Biden; it is not an exaggeration to say the world may not survive another 4 years of Trump’s lack of climate action.
EU member states should not waste their new Eurobond funding on pork-barrel spending and standard national budgets.
This new Eurobond must be used effectively if it is to remain a part of the EU fiscal arsenal.
All of this is bluest of blue-sky thinking; however, the alternative of toxic atmosphere thinking will be accurate for the political and environmental climate without significant action.
As FT stated perfectly: “Europe cannot carry the burden of emissions reductions alone, but neither can it afford to wait for others to move.”
For detail: https://www.ft.com/content/32103b95-f945-4f14-9d32-b0cc8e819d56