EU unveils new ‘Green Deal’ to combat climate change, will become carbon neutral by 2050

The plan entails converting climate goals to action through concrete measures like Emissions Trading System (ETS), stricter emission rules for cars, taxation of aviation fuel and building up of forests and grasslands. 

The European Union (EU) on Wednesday presented a concrete roadmap, called the European Green Deal, to fight the adverse effects of climate change with the aim to lead the way for other major economies to follow. The plan entails converting climate goals to action through concrete measures like Emissions Trading System (ETS), stricter emission rules for cars, taxation of aviation fuel and building up of forests and grasslands.

The EU aims to reduce emissions from greenhouse gases by 55% till 2030 from the 1990s level, calling it the “Fit for 55” measures. This is a part of the wider plan of the EU countries to become climate neutral by 2050 (i.e., emit net-zero carbon emissions), as mandated by scientists to prevents the worst effects of climate change.

According to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, Europe is the first continent to present a comprehensive architecture to meet climate ambitions. 

Some significant aspects of the European Green Deal are-

  1. Emissions Trading System: the system aims to make it costly for factories and other companies in shipbuilding, transport and constructions sectors to emit CO2. Border tariffs would be introduced on producers if they sell their carbon-emitting goods in the EU.
  2. Car emission limits: Stricter norms would be introduced which would effectively stop the sale of cars running on petrol and diesel from 20135.
  3. Taxation: tax would be introduced on the use of the highly polluting aviation fuel.
  4. Carbon sink: All EU countries will increase forest and grassland cover which would absorb large amounts of CO2, acting as a carbon sink.

The EU contributes to around 8% of global CO2 emissions as compared to 30% by China, 15% by the United States and 7% contribution by India. The 28 membered EU has currently reduced emissions by 24% from the 1990s level.

While the green deal is the EU’s most ambitious climate-related plan yet, it is likely to face stiff resistance from lobbies of the industrial sector as well as poorer countries of the block, who don’t want to burden their citizens with prize hikes. The plan would need the approval of the EU Parliament and all the members of the European block.

The next significant event for combating climate change would be the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, to be hosted in the United Kingdom in November 2021.

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