European Green Deal: objectives and initiatives for a sustainable future

The European Union has made it a priority to combat climate change in the coming decades. To respond to this challenge, member states have launched the so-called Green Deal European. This historic agreement proposes a total transformation of the economy with one objective: stop global warming. With this approach, Europe will become the first climate-neutral continent. This means that, by 2050, the member countries must have reached the so-called Net Zero. At that point, the emissions are neutralised: as much pollution is removed from the atmosphere as is emitted.

What is the European Green Deal?

states of the European Union on the path towards an ecological transition. This pact is formalised as the Union’s strategy to comply with what was settled upon in the Paris Agreement. In this international agreement of 2015, the signatory countries promised to halt the increase in global temperature. The idea is to keep this increase below 2ºC with respect to the average of the pre-industrial era.

It is a vital that we reach a goal that still seems distant: climate neutrality. The way to acheive the objective proposed by the EU is this European Green Deal .

Objectives of the European Green Deal

The European Green Deal was unveiled on July 14, 2021. On that day, the president of the Commission, Ursula von right Leyen made it clear: “Emitting CO₂ must have a price.” With that sentence, she wanted to show the determination of the EU in implementing this programme. And she sought to mark a main and irrefutable objective: Europe must be neutral in emissions in 2050.

The Green Deal within the EU

Thus, the main objective of this green pact would be to curb climate change and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. In addition, other major goals appear to be associated with this challenge:

  • Protect human life, animals and plants through the reduction of pollution.
  • Help companies lead the transition to a model based on clean products and technologies.
  • Guarantee a fair and inclusive transition towards this new horizon.

The Green Deal outside the EU

The action of the EU crosses its borders: it pays 40 percent of the global fight against warming. And he wants to continue leading that battle. To do this, it is proposed to lead by example through this European Green Pact . The Union seeks to engage non-member countries in its vision of a more sustainable future. It is hoped that it will serve as an incentive for other nations to establish carbon pricing policies.

In that effort, the EU will drive climate action through diplomacy, trade and cooperation. Moreover, standards for sustainable growth will be established in all global value chains .

This outside activity will have strengths. One of them will be a Green Agenda for the Balkan countries. Another, the creation of environmental and climate partnerships with the Southern Neighbourhood and the Eastern Partnership. Alliances will also be built with partner countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. Additionally, collaborations will be established with the G20 and with African countries.

How the European Green Deal can stop climate change

All of these policies and strategies have the common goal of slowing or halting the rise in global temperature. Although the goal is very complicated, the green deal can be the tool to achieve it.

On the one hand, because it involves a profound transformation of the economy, forms of production and transport. On the other, because it proposes to build a new society , more aware of the problems that afflict it, more resilient and supportive.

From a more technical perspective, the European Green Deal is an offensive against carbon emissions. Decarbonisation is the main weapon against global warming, so policies that go in this direction are positive.

Objective 55 and climate change

To establish these decarbonisation policies, the EU proposes a broad legislative package – the so-called “Objective 55”. It is a set of new regulations that will affect many sectors and that will be binding on all member states.

These legal changes seek to adapt the broad set of Union rules to climate change objectives. Finally, the commitment to reduce emissions by 2050 is something more than words: it will have the force of law.

How does the European Green Deal protect nature?

All these changes will serve to establish a protective shield for nature throughout the European Union. This shield acts on four fronts that make up the Biodiversity Strategy of the European Green Deal:

  • Reduce the effects of climate change.
  • Fight forest fires.
  • Eliminate food insecurity.
  • Avoid disease outbreaks, protecting fauna and fighting against the illegal trade of wild species.

With these ideas in mind, Europe is committed to restoring its biodiversity before 2030. To this end, protected areas will also be expanded, both on land and at sea. What is more, degraded ecosystems will be recovered and funding for these actions will increase.

Policy areas of the EU Green Deal

As a central part of the European Green Deal, strategies and initiatives are deployed that involve institutions, companies and citizens. These policies will mainly affect industry, construction and agriculture. The main strategies are:

Climate change adaptation strategy.

All EU states will have to work together to collect and share data on climate change. Also, they must build more resilient societies in the face of the problems generated by the impact of global warming. That goes through adopting nature-based solutions and protecting ecosystems. Moreover, this strategy will have to be integrated into the budgetary policy of the Union.

Farm to Fork Strategy

It is about ensuring the production of adequate affordable and nutritious food for all members.

Other strategies that the states of the Union must endorse are the promotion of the industrial fabric or the circular economy, as well as the development of a new forestry strategy and the search for a clean and affordable energy supply. Finally, a just transition plan will guarantee financial and technical support for the regions most affected by these changes.

Green Deal Initiatives

Within this set of changes, far-reaching initiatives begin to appear. The most important are legislative in nature and form part of the so-called ‘Objective 55’. The promoting of renewable energies are among the policies that stand out. To achieve that momentum, the directive on renewable energy sources that is now in force will be reviewed. With this revision, Europe must strive to make 40 percent of the electricity consumed by 2030 renewable. Furthermore, energy efficiency regulations will be implemented .

The other highlight will be the emissions legislation for cars and vans. Thus, passenger cars must reduce their emissions by 55 percent by 2030. For their part, vans must reduce their emissions by half. Additionally, the construction and sale of “zero emission” cars should be considerably encouraged.

As an accompaniment to the requirements for the automotive industry, it is planned to promote the building of infrastructure for alternative fuels. These greener fuels should also reach the aviation and sea transport sectors.

Another key point will be the so-called effort sharing regulation. This regulation proposes to divide the reductions among several sectors: transport, construction, agriculture and waste treatment.

Another noteworthy proposal is the change in regulations to improve land use and forestry. Agriculture is intended to be a fundamental bastion in the fight against emissions.

The Social Climate Fund is also one of the most important proposals, which aims to support citizens and companies in their adjustment to these objectives.

In the economic section, a review of energy taxation is proposed and the current emission rights trading system will be reviewed. In relation to this market, the EU also looks beyond its borders with the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, with this system forcing European companies to buy emission certificates for their foreign activity.

European Taxonomy and Green Deal

Finally, these initiatives, strategies and legal changes affect companies. Their plans, budgets, reports and balance sheets must always take into account the fight against climate change. To highlight what they do in this regard, the European Union has published the so-called EU taxonomy. This is a regulation that indicates how to publish and disseminate the non-financial information of companies. It sets out how corporate environmental plans should be published.

Do you want to know more about European taxonomy? Download this guide

However, the European Green Deal represents a transformation that will affect all elements of society. For example, companies will prioritise sustainable investments to meet the demands of a civilisation that is increasingly aware of its social and environmental impact .

The sooner companies have the green deal on their agenda and plans, the sooner they will fulfil their part of the commitment. If your company needs to go down the same road, you must have specialists by your side to guide and advise you. At APlanet we have tools designed to facilitate the transformation proposed by the European Green Deal, an example being our ESG manager. You can contact us now or book a free demo from our website.

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