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Last week, as the UN Climate Meeting lurched and sputtered, the European Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen of Germany, proposed the European “Green Deal” — a blueprint for how Europe will cut their carbon emissions in half by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, aiming to be a first-mover on creating climate-friendly industries and building clean technologies. In doing so she explained that this is their “moonshot” and that she is “convinced that the old growth model based on fossil fuels and pollution is out of date and out of touch with our planet” and they will work toward approval by the middle of next year.
Why This Matters: Countries that seize the moment to transition to a fossil-fuel-free economy will win this century, and those that do not will be left behind. Europe’s government, financial sector, and the energy industry seem to be moving in the right direction. This stands in stark contrast to the United States. They might be criticized for not raising their ambitions enough and for not moving even more transparently and quickly to get there, but at least the European Union is moving in the same direction toward cutting carbon emissions and not just because it is the morally correct thing to do, but also because they believe it will improve their prosperity.
Zero-Pollution: The objective is to reach a “pollution-free environment” — air, water, and land — by 2050.
Ecosystems & Biodiversity: A new biodiversity strategy to be proposed in March 2020, in the run-up to a UN biodiversity summit taking place in China in October.
Farm to Table Ag Strategy: A new strategy will aim for a “green and healthier agriculture” system including to “significantly reduce the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and antibiotics.
Transportation: Electric vehicles will be encouraged with the objective of deploying 1 million public charging points across Europe by 2025 and “sustainable alternative fuels” – biofuels and hydrogen – will be promoted in aviation, shipping and heavy-duty road transport where electrification is not possible.
Financial Support: To “leave no-one behind,” the commission proposes a ‘Just Transition Mechanism’ to help regions most heavily dependent on fossil fuels. “We have the ambition to mobilize €100 billion precisely targeted to the most vulnerable regions and sectors.”
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer China is often criticized for funding fossil fuel power infrastructure beyond its borders, and rightly so: it’s the top financier of overseas power plants, especially coal-fired ones. But they’re not the only ones continuing to finance coal and gas projects overseas. The US and Japan are a close second […]
This past May, President Biden signed an executive order on climate-related financial risk, a cross-governmental plan that directs federal agencies to identify and mitigate financial risks presented by climate change to Americans, businesses, and the government itself. Progress on this order was made over the weekend when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that the Financial Stability […]
Why This Matters: Money talks. Investors are increasingly willing to walk away from deals like oil and gas drilling projects in the Arctic or investments in fossil fuel companies that refuse to change their business models.
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