Reforming Energy, Transportation and Agriculture
Europeans are forming a new alliance to build its recovery package after the coronavirus crisis around the Green Deal strategy of sustainable growth. The group is pushing to mobilize investment in projects that would put the EU on track to meet its goal of becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by the middle of the century. The bloc’s leaders, who last month pledged a green focus in an exit strategy from the coronavirus crisis, are set to discuss next week measures worth more than half a trillion euros ($550 billion) to help mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.
“Political will is here,” the 180 policy makers, business leaders, researchers and non-governmental organizations said in a statement. “We already have the plans and strategy. Projects such as the European Green Deal, and other national zero carbon development plans have a huge potential to build back our economy and contribute to creating a new prosperity model.”
Europe seeks to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in its far-reaching environmental cleanup. Its Green Deal, which was launched shortly before the virus outbreak, will overhaul everything from transport to energy production and agriculture, putting Europe’s ambitions on climate change ahead of most other major polluters.
While European nations still need to join forces to deal with the pandemic, the future recovery will offer the region a chance to develop a new model of prosperity, according to German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, who is among the signatories of the call.
“This new model must be geared to the climate goals, provide the necessary tailwind for a climate-neutral economy throughout Europe and help us to master future challenges together,” she said in an e-mailed statement on Monday.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, expects the spreading contagion to cause a deep recession this year.
The recovery plan should enshrine the fight against climate change as “the core of the economic strategy,” said the members of the alliance, which also includes ministers from Austria, France, Italy, Luxembourg and Sweden and the CEOs of Iberdrola SA, Unilever, Volvo Group and EON SE.
“If we relaunch the economy in the wrong direction, we will hit the climate crisis wall,” said Canfin, chairman of the EU Parliament’s environment committee. “We need to unite all the energies for a green recovery.”