EU climate fantasy is about to move up a gear, it seems. Should ‘save’ in the headline read ‘sink’, or can the EU surprise us with evidence that spending big on offshore wind turbines is somehow going to deliver economic benefits?
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If the European Green Deal made economic sense before the COVID-19 crisis, “it makes even more sense now” because it will help reboot the economy, said Frans Timmermans, the EU Commission vice-president in charge of climate action.
In a speech on Tuesday (1 September), Timmermans confirmed that Brussels will forge ahead with proposals for new climate targets this month, saying the objective will be to align the EU’s 2030 objectives with the bloc’s long-term goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050.
“Very soon we will propose new emissions targets for 2030,” Timmermans said, announcing a raft of new policy proposals to come out in the autumn, including a building renovation wave and an offshore energy strategy to boost the uptake of renewables such as offshore wind, reports The Times (via The GWPF).
The proposal will be accompanied by a detailed economic analysis to evaluate the costs and benefits of reducing the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50 or 55% below 1990 levels by 2030, up from 40% currently.
This cost-benefit analysis – or “impact assessment” in EU jargon – is eagerly awaited by EU countries, some of which have grown wary about the cost of climate action at a time when the economy is entering a recession caused by the COVID-19 health crisis.
In July, a group of six eastern EU countries sent a letter to the Commission warning about the extra costs this will entail for regions that are heavily dependent on polluting industries such as coal.
“Above all, the impact assessment should be realistic,” said the environment ministers of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
“We are experiencing a global pandemic that will not end soon and there might be others to come. This is no longer business as usual, so neither the IA should be,” the six ministers wrote in a letter dated 13 July.
The European Commission will table proposals next month to raise the EU’s climate target for 2030, amid warnings from Eastern countries to safeguard jobs and growth from the coronavirus fallout.
But Timmermans seemed to push back on those claims. “The cost of climate action may be high but it is dwarfed by the cost of inaction,” the Dutchman said in reference to storms, floods and heatwaves which are becoming more frequent and taking a heavy toll on the economy.
“The Green Deal is Europe’s new growth strategy,” the Commission vice-president underlined, repeating the EU executive’s new mantra that economic growth and environmental policies “go hand in hand”.
via Tallbloke’s Talkshop
September 2, 2020 at 03:15AM