“The Green Deal is Europe’s Man on the Moon Moment” Ursula von der Leyen – The European Commission President
Climate change and environmental degradation have become an existential threat to Europe and the rest of the world. This time, the execution of the program has to be totally different from previous attempts.
The European Green Deal is a new economic growth strategy program under Horizon 2020. It is a €1 billion call (EU Budget, National Governments & Green Investments by Private Sector) launched by the European Commission and focuses on Research and Innovation projects to reduce carbon emissions by 2050.
The way we live will be completely transformed by 2050 through a resource-efficient economy. In this era of digital transformation, there is an enormous need to switch to clean energy, clean agriculture, clean transportation, and clean industry. These changes will result in new job opportunities such as high-tech industry positions in a wide span of fields from renewable energy to electric vehicle manufacturing. The Green Deal covers every aspect of society, and thus the economy. It also includes biodiversity goals and environmentally sound agriculture practices. This competitive economy program targets the elimination of “net emissions of greenhouse gases” and decouple growth from resource use. The critical question is, “How will it be possible that no one is left behind?”. This is a multidisciplinary issue, for which all policymakers have to work together.
There is a growing awareness in the world to cut greenhouse gas emissions to save the planet. The EU needs other countries to join the Paris Agreement, which was signed in 2015 to ensure that the global temperature does not increase more than 2oC, preferably below 1.5oC. The ultimate aim is getting China, USA, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other countries to declare ambitious climate promises.
Carbon emissions have increased by 4% since 2015. Now, the EU has to act fast to convince other countries to change the state of play. The Green Deal aims to create a regulatory framework in the area of climate change. This change in 27 member states shall result in an inspiring effect on the rest of the world. Even though Brexit has been initiated, the UK is fully aligned with the EU with regards to the climate crisis.
The program has clear targets such as the zero carbon emission goal by 2050, action plans for key sectors, private sector investments to reduce waste, and decreased use of natural resources. The aimed mind shift shall be reflected in the education system through lifelong learning practices, from primary school to graduate degrees. Public awareness should also increase with these efforts.
The policies of the Green Deal are:
- Increasing the EU’s climate ambition with milestones in 2030 and 2050,
- Supplying clean, affordable, and secure energy,
- Mobilizing industry for a clean and circular economy,
- Building and renovating systems in energy and resource-efficient ways,
- Accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility,
- From ‘Farm to Fork’: designing a fair, healthy, and environmentally-sound food supply system
- Protecting and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity,
- Zero-pollution target for a toxic-free environment.
These policies are essential to start with more ambitious climate action. Let’s finalize our words not with answers, but with some critical questions:
- Are you ready to join the change?
- Are you ready to proactively join and execute the policies?
- What is the best scenario for our youth for a green future?
- Will you hold the hand of anyone who is left behind?
It is clear that the road to a greener future is not smooth; however, it is time to get on the road finally.
Let’s stand up and walk together towards a green future. Deal?
Author: Özgür Arda