It is not going fast enough, it has to be faster. That is the motto of the Green Deal, which European Commissioner Frans Timmermans is presenting today. The urgency is high, but there are also great opportunities, he writes in the introduction.
That is why he wants to take irreversible measures and set aside a lot of money to make the economy greener. A total of 260 billion euros will be needed in the coming period. “A quarter of the EU budget”, as the text says.
The plans still have to be approved by the European leaders. They support the goal of achieving zero emissions in 2050, but do not all agree with the speed that Timmermans wants to make now. Tomorrow the EU leaders will meet in Brussels about the Green Deal. The European Parliament and national parliaments also have to discuss the proposals.
The Green Deal, which was drawn up by the new European Commission in record time, is a kind of timetable, a roadmap, which states which measures are to be taken and when. By 2030, CO2 emissions must have been reduced by at least 50 percent and preferably by 55 percent.
To achieve this, there will be a climate law with mandatory measures for all EU member states. Timmermans and his staff want to take most of the measures with a so-called qualified majority, so that the climate proposals cannot be blocked by a veto from a member state.
The year 2030 is leading. Each year, it will be measured whether the reduction target can be achieved and additional measures will be taken in the summer of 2021 if CO2 emissions have not been sufficiently reduced. One of the options is a method of road pricing. Timmermans wants to enter into a political discussion about this.
The polluter pays: cars, trucks and planes must pay from 2021 if they emit CO2. These so-called CO2 allowances are limited (they can be purchased on a special market) and are becoming more and more expensive in the Commission’s view. Large industries already have those rights.
Ultimately, Timmermans hopes that part of the bill can be paid via those CO2 allowances, because 20 percent of the proceeds will go to the EU’s cashier. The European Investment Bank (EIB) also plays a major role in the climate plan. Half of the EIB’s investments should be green in the coming years. The European Commission also hopes to receive part of the deposit on plastic, which will be imported into the EU in the coming years.
It is about the well-being of the citizens, as the Green Deal says, but that well-being is not only a clean environment, but also about people who work in polluting factories or coal mines. “Good agreements must be made about this, otherwise the Green Deal will fail.”
And to prevent Europe from taking measures, but still keeping CO2 emitted from the rest of the world, there will be extra charges for countries that do not do enough about the climate.