European Green Deal is continent’s ‘man on the moon’ moment

11 Dec 2019388 Views

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. Image: European Commission

A total of 50 actions have been laid out in the European Green Deal, including plans to reduce emissions by up to 55pc by 2030.

Ireland has a major challenge ahead to meet legally binding targets set by the EU’s European Green Deal published today (11 December), which will work towards a carbon-neutral continent by 2050.

Launched by recently appointed European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, the deal would see emissions reduction targets of up to 55pc by 2030 as well as 49 other planned actions.

The deal will soon be presented to the EU Parliament and, tomorrow (12 December), will be put forward to leaders of the European Council, who are expected to endorse it. In her speech announcing the deal, von der Leyen said a total of €100bn will be allocated to a Just Transition Mechanism to help boost flagging member states to transition faster to renewable energy.

‘The European Green Deal is very ambitious, but it will also be very careful in assessing the impact and every single step we are taking’

“I am convinced that the old growth model that is based on fossil fuels and pollution is out of date, and it is out of touch with our planet,” she said.

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“The European Green Deal is our new growth strategy – it is a strategy for growth that gives more back than it takes away. And we want to really make things different. We want to be the frontrunners in climate friendly industries, in clean technologies, in green financing.”

She went on to say that the deal is a “broad roadmap” for a rapid transition to a cleaner continent and the “start of a journey”.

“This is Europe’s ‘man on the moon’ moment,” she said. “The European Green Deal is very ambitious, but it will also be very careful in assessing the impact and every single step we are taking.”

However, the Commission also said that in order to achieve emission reduction targets for 2030, it will need €260bn in further investment, equivalent to 15pc of GDP based on 2018 figures.

The private sector will play a key role in financing the green transition, it added, saying that sustainability should be further embedded into corporate governance because “many companies still focus too much on short-term financial performance compared to their long-term development and sustainability aspects”.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic