Editor's note

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Sunday, 05.04.2020, 13:02

European “green & climate pacts”: effect for Baltics

Eugene Eteris, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 09.03.2020.Print version

Recent Commission steps in the EU’s efforts towards climate mitigation: the “green deal” and climate-neutral EU by 2050 are followed by the “climate law” package, forcing the Baltic States to be more active in corresponding measures at the local level.

Our magazine would like to remind the decision-makers in the Baltic States about the necessity of approving urgent practical measures to mitigate the growth’s negative effect on European and global climate “abnormalities”! These measures- most probably different in the Baltic States- would have something in common: i.e. reduction of industrial, manufacturing and household’s pollution, as well as adequate measures towards clean air, water, nature protection, etc. 

Double initiative – double responsibilities

Recent EU’ moves: e.g. the green deal and the climate law are supposed to turn the member states’ climate and environmental challenges into opportunities across all policy areas, while making the transition just and inclusive for all. This message from the Commission’s guidelines shall be the guiding principles for practical actions in the Baltic States.


According to the Commission’s priorities for the next five years, the key objectives of the EU states are proper environmental policies that enable the creation (or proceeding with) an sustainable industrial base using modern digital technologies, while reducing transport pollution, constructing/renovating residential “smart houses and more efficient/smarter working facilities.


Digital services and technologies are being already widely used in the EU states: these technologies are becoming more progressive: e.g. new 5G-based networking can “re-configure” the data-centers and telecom’s networks. In this way the ICT-users will have trustful, secure and transparent operation systems. 

 

The European “climate law” sets both the 2050 target and the directions for the member states’ policies, as well as guidelines for public authorities and businesses. At the same time, the Commission is launching a public consultation on the future of the “climate law” as the EU’s legally binding instruments for reaching zero greenhouse gas emissions, ZGGE by 2050. In this way, the EU institutions and the member states’ authorities will be collectively bound to take the necessary measures at their corresponding areas to meet the target.

 

Historically, the newly elected Commission first set out its vision for a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 in November 2018; that is in line with the Paris Agreement objectives (2015) to keep the global temperature increase below 2°C and pursue efforts to keep it to 1.5°C. The climate-neutral strategy was followed by the Commission’s “green deal”, which was made public in mid-December 2019. Then, the European Parliament endorsed the EU’s ZGGS objectives in mid-March 2019 and in December 2019 the European Council approved these objectives.


The essence of the “green deal” and the climate pact is the European and the member states’ new growth strategies that would transform their economies into modern, resource-efficient and competitive. The following three socio-economic parameters shall be included: a) elimination of net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050; b) de-coupling the economic growth from fossil-fuel’s resources, and c) inclusive aspects in policies, where “no person and no place is left behind”.


More on the EU long-term climate strategy in: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/strategies/2050_en; on the “green deal” in: https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_en

 

In both strategies, the EU “climate law” is regarded as the so-called “legal transposition instrument” of the present Commission’s political commitment towards the European green deal and member states’ sustainable future. The Commission President noticed in the law’s introduction in March 2020 that the climate law was supposed to offer “predictability and transparency for European industry and investors”, while providing directions to the member states’ green growth strategies. 

Reference to: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_335

 

The “climate law” includes measures to keep track of progress and adjust member states’ actions accordingly, based on existing systems such as the governance process for the states' National Energy and Climate Plans, regular reports by the European Environment Agency, and the latest scientific evidence on climate change and its impacts. Progress will be reviewed every five years, in line with the global account measures under the Paris Agreement.

Reaching the ZGGE-2050

Based on a comprehensive impact assessment, the Commission proposes new 2030 EU targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions. By June 2021, the Commission will review, and where necessary propose to revise, all relevant policy instruments to achieve the additional emission reductions for 2030. The greenhouse gas emission reductions will be constantly measured providing for some progress and give predictability to public authorities, businesses and citizens.


By September 2023, and every five years thereafter, the Commission will assess the consistency of the national measures with the climate-neutrality objective and the 2030-2050 trajectory.


Then the Commission will issue recommendations to the member states whose actions are inconsistent with the climate-neutrality objective; these states will be obliged to take due account of these recommendations or to explain their reasoning if they fail to do so.


The EU states will also be required to develop and implement adaptation strategies to strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to the effects of climate change.


Source: press release in https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/statement_20_381

Public consultations

The Baltic States’ authorities still have time –although quite short - for preparation: the Commission is launching in the beginning of March a public consultation process on a new European climate pact, providing for a broad initiative for citizens and stakeholders in designing new climate actions, as well as sharing information, launching grassroots activities and showcasing solutions for others to follow.


The public consultation is open for three months; the inputs will be used to shape the “climate pact”, which will be launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place in Glasgow in November 2020 (COP26).


Presently, the Commission started publication of the inception impact assessments on the future Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, CBAM and the review of the energy taxation Directive (two other important policy instruments under the European green deal).


In addition, the College of Commissioners adopted a proposal to designate 2021 as the European Year of Rail to support the delivery of the “green deal” in the transport sector, e.g. in increasing passenger and freight use of the rail network.

 





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