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The European Union announced an $825 billion recovery package for the coronavirus pandemic and it includes big plans to address climate change as intrinsic to its economic recovery. The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen lived up to her promises to deliver a package that would help Europe toward making its 2050 carbon neutrality goal. The Chinese are taking a different tack but it leads to a similar result — the Chinese government last week did not set post-pandemic economic growth targets for this year, which reduces the risk of short-term increases in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from a rapid ramping up of industry there.
Why This Matters: Only when we shut down the economies of the developed world due to the life or death threat of the pandemic did we see global greenhouse gas emissions reductions necessary for the foreseeable future. The EU is taking a responsible approach. The U.S. so far is not. And despite its dampened economic ambitions, China is not stepping up to its climate commitments either. What the EU is doing is great, but not enough to lead the world. The next global climate meeting has been delayed a year. New U.S. leadership there is more important than ever.
According to The New York Times, China’s recovery plans are not particularly green — though it remains unclear exactly how the $800B stimulus package will be spent. However, it is clear that China is going ahead with building new coal power plants and relaxing environmental reviews of government projects. One climate activist in China explained to The Times that “horse trading” is occurring “among Chinese officials.” There is concern that when it comes to China, the way ahead on climate will be very challenging and that the “Covid-19 should be interpreted as a very negative factor for international climate cooperation.”
Yesterday, several news outlets reported that the Biden administration will soon propose a return to aggressive Obama-era vehicle mileage standards over five years, after which rules would tighten to encourage 40% of U.S. drivers into electric vehicles by 2030. As the Post and Courrier reported, The proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency and Department […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Taken together, the European Union’s 27 countries are the #4 carbon emitter globally. The recently released “Fit for 55” package spells out how, exactly, the bloc will go from its current output to hitting its goal of climate neutrality by 2050. One of the biggest proposed changes is an […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Madagascar is facing the world’s first famine caused entirely by climate change. 1.14 million people on the island nation are now considered food-insecure, and locals are scraping by on last-resort food sources like raw cactus and locusts. What’s worse: there is no end in sight. “The next planting season is less than two […]
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