Editor's note

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 13.07.2020, 01:36

"Green Deal” for Europe and the Baltics

Eugene Eteris, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 03.12.2019.Print version

Man EU’s perspective idea is to turn the member states “climate-neutral” by 2050: it means that during next decades the Baltic States shall make their developmental strategies and policies sustainable. Important are transport and energy sectors, renovating old apartments and houses, finding solutions to regional issues, etc.

The “green deal” issues are both urgent and practical for the EU member states and globally: it is existential as in 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change about 85per cent of people are in extreme poverty. In the EU the issue is existential too: Venice has been under water (first time in half a century), Portugal's forests are on fire and Lithuania's harvests have been cut by almost half because of droughts. The new Commission intends to take active measures to combat the threat of climate change: the faster the EU institutions are moving, the greater the advantage will be for the citizens, the states’ prosperity and competitiveness.

Double goal

The urgent measures have been already announced this June at the EU summit to make the EU states “climate-neutral” by 2050. However, the plan was not approved as 3 member states (Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic) didn’t agree on expected transformation measures. Then, during summer and autumn the EU figured out coordination actions among four main sectors involved – climate, environmental, health and economic. Several member states have already adopted some implementation plans, e.g. Denmark approved a national strategy to reduce by 70% CO2 emissions up to 2030. However, the financial aspects of transition are still quite unclear: mainly for Central and Eastern EU states.   


As soon as the EU’s “green deal” is going to be so important for citizens’ health and the states’ economies, all these activities will be coordinated by the Commission executive vice-president, Frans Timmermans supported by Kadri Simson (commissioner for energy) and Adina Vălean (commissioner for transport), to name a few.


The “green deal” is a new EU growth strategy with the aim of reducing emissions while creating jobs. Thus, at the center of the strategy is a perspective industrial development to enable the SMEs to innovate, develop new technologies and creating new markets. In this way the EU’s corporate activities would set up global sustainable standards and increasing European competitive advantage. It is going to be the best way to ensure a sustainable level-playing field while acting positively in climate and environment sectors with affordable, clean and secure energy.


Thus, the EU’s double goal for the member states is: a) to reduce by half the CO2 emissions by 2030 and b) to make the whole European continent (as well as the member states) CO2 neutral by 2050. In March 2020, the Commission will propose for the member states a first-ever European Climate Law to make the transition to climate neutrality irreversible.


Reference to: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/SPEECH_19_6651

“Generational transition”

The “green deal” is going to represent a generational transition towards climate neutrality in all EU states by mid-century, being both just and inclusive. The process will need huge investment (public and private, Union’s and national) in innovation, research, infrastructure, housing and education.


The new Commission “will mainstream climate financing throughout the EU budget, but also throughout capital markets and the entire investment chain”. The Commission’s President noted that the EU “will support people and businesses with a targeted just transition mechanism, cutting across different funds and instruments and attract private investment”. In this huge task, the European Investment Bank will take an active part, e.g. through the strengthening the role of the EU “climate bank” to boost investment in European technologies and solutions.


Although the EU states account only for about 9 per cent of global emissions, the new Commission’s team intends to go on with the global-wide Emissions Trading Systems; Commissioner Phil Hogan (trade) will ensure that the EU future international trade agreements would include chapters on sustainable development.


Citation from: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/SPEECH_19_6408

 

These issues shall go hand-in-hand with the EU’s competitive sustainability, as the EU states have been for already four years committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. Hence, the Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni (economic development) will oversee the SDGs implementation aspects in the member states.


Actually, things are more complicated: people care more about the air they breathe, the water they drink, the food they consume, as well as the nature’s quality. Several new Commissioners are dealing with these issues: e.g. Virginijus Sinkevičius (environment) will leading the EU’s efforts for preserving European biodiversity and surrounding seas, while ensuring that EU’s coastal and fishing communities can happily survive.


Besides, Janusz Wojciechowski (agriculture) will ensure that the European farmers can progress in adapting to new agro-sustainability. The Union’s general approach will persist: sustainable farming will remain a valuable part of European culture and progress. Sustainable agro-production is becoming a strong priority with additional access to financial support for young farmers. However, the EU institutions and those in the member states shall see that imported food products from third countries comply with the Union's environmental quality standards.

 

My personal remark to the “green deal” is a very positive one: it is better to do something good, rather that wishing to deliver on something that might be politically correct. Quite practical example to the “green deal”: each Christmas-New Year period, in various countries lots of paper for decoration and wrappings is consumed. For example, Danes are using about 825 tons of all sorts of wrapping papers for presents. To produce it, about 900 tons of wood is used with 837 tons of chemicals and about 77 thousand liters of water. Quite a burden for nature...

 





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