In November 2018, the European Commission published a strategic long-term vision “A Clean Planet for all”, which since then has been intensively discussed by the European Institutions. No less than the reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 is the Commission’s target. On March 14th, 2019 Parliament supported the Commission.
On November 28th 2018, the Commission published a Communication under the title “A Clean Planet for all”. In it, it depicts a strategy as to how Europe can contribute to implement the Paris Climate Agreement and in doing so to reach the target to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. This means that the EU intends to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero from 2050.
However, the Commission does not present concrete measures, but names those sectors, where measures have to be taken. This includes improving energy efficiency and the renovation of buildings; however, apart from this, new technologies such as hydrogen shall also play a bigger role. Electrification and better networking shall ensure cleaner traffic.
Also remarkable is that agriculture too shall contribute by among other promoting sustainable bio-economy and the diversification of agriculture.
The report also addresses the option of CO2 capture and storage (CCS); however, its technology is still full of big question marks. Not mentioned is a route for a phasing out nuclear energy Europe-wide. Due to the fact that many European countries continue to rely on nuclear power and because this technology is regarded as CO2-neutral, a departure from this dangerous form of energy generation at European level is currently not an issue.
Of particular note is the fact that Commission regarding its long-term strategy also wants to ensure a socially fair transition for the workers concerned. There are numerous regions in Europe, where the departure of non-climate neutral energies and technologies risk a loss of many jobs, such as in coal mining regions. Hence, the intention is to support countries and communities in ensuring a fair transition.
On March 14th, 2019, the European Parliament adopted a resolution to support the long-term strategy of the European Commission. MEP Udo Bullmann, S&D, pointed out that the student movement “Fridays for future”, launched by Greta Thunberg, in which tens of thousands students participated in many European countries over the past weeks, is also heard and supported by the European Parliament. The Green MEP Bas Eickhout puts the need for action in a nutshell: “If climate was a bank it would have been saved by now”.