Thursday, July 18, 2024

Can the EU’s green initiatives overcome their internal contradictions?

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The European Union’s flagship climate policy vehicle, the Green Deal, took another major step forward in December, with a new binding target for a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. However, a little over a year after the original deal was first inked, the Green Deal is already accused of failing to ensure no one is “left behind”. At the same time, debate over key pillars of EU environmental efforts continues to play out within the European institutions, with the European Parliament still developing its response to the Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan and environmental groups pushing for increasingly stringent rules.

While Europe’s drive for carbon neutrality and sustainability will inevitably leave at least some businesses out of pocket, the list of industries currently affected by EU environmental initiatives include those with sustainable interests at heart. Alongside its new and more ambitious targets, will the Commission be able to ensure it fairly distributes the financial support and technical assistance it offers to those most impacted by its dramatic moves towards a green EU? And is it willing to look beyond the headlines to support the sectors doing the heavy lifting on sustainable innovation? The track record thus far is not altogether encouraging.

Recharging the automotive sector

Sustainable mobility is one area underlined for investment by the EC, especially because the transport industry will have to reduce emissions by 90% to meet Green Deal targets. The bloc’s electric vehicles (EV) market is growing rapidly, with 500,000 vehicles sold in 2020. In November, these vehicles accounted for fully 80% of the overall automotive market in Norway. In Germany, the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA) motor transportation authority found annual EV sales last year increased third times over. Read more…

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