Europe Presents Ambitious Climate Change Plan, But Barriers Arise


BRUSSELS — In what could be a breakthrough moment in the global effort to tackle climate change, Europe on Wednesday challenged the rest of the world with a plan. ambitious plan Moving away from fossil fuels in the next nine years is a plan that also has the potential to spark global trade disputes.

The most radical and possibly contentious proposal would impose tariffs on some imports from countries with less stringent climate protection rules. offers This includes eliminating sales of new petrol and diesel-powered cars in just 14 years and raising fossil fuel use prices.

“Our current fossil fuel economy has reached its limit,” European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference in Brussels.

The effort, promoted by the European Commission, the EU bureaucracy, makes the 27-nation bloc’s proposal the world’s most aggressive and detailed plan to achieve a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, proposing major changes this decade. To force the issue, Brussels has committed in law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

The negotiations on the legislative package will be scrutinized far beyond Europe as a look at whether and how various countries, with democratically elected leaders from across the political spectrum, can turn an economy away from fossil fuels and steer it and provide a cushion to those countries. most affected.

European proposal suggested by some environmental activists saying it still doesn’t go far enough, it raises the bar for the US and China. President Biden said he wants the United States to be a leader in efforts to address climate change.

A White House official said Wednesday afternoon that the European Commission was reviewing its proposals and greatly welcomed the idea of ​​a carbon cap tax. Congressional Democrats took a preliminary step Wednesday toward a similar tax they call a “pollutant import fee,” aimed at reducing emissions.

The United States has pledged to reduce emissions by 40 to 43 percent by 2030. The scientists said the world would need to cut emissions in half by then, which would require the biggest polluters in history, namely the United States and Europe, to make the sharpest and fastest cuts.

The UK, which will host the international climate talks COP-26 in Glasgow in November, has promised a 68 percent discount. China, now the world’s largest emitter of carbon, said it only aims for emissions to peak by 2030 and is under pressure to set a more ambitious target ahead of the Glasgow talks.

detailed offers Leaving the European Union marks only the beginning of two years of grueling and grueling negotiations between industry, 27 countries and the European Parliament on how to achieve the 55 percent reduction.

But the proposals that precede the Glasgow talks represent the European Union’s effort to demonstrate global leadership in what should be a multilateral effort to sufficiently reduce global emissions to avert the worst effects of climate change.

“The EU’s policy package to stabilize our climate is by far the most comprehensive of its kind,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, director of the Potsdam Climate Impact Research Institute in Germany. “Extreme weather around the world clearly demonstrates that strong action now is key if we want to limit costs and risks and ensure a secure future for all.”

in your heart europe road map increase in carbon prices. Nearly every sector of the economy would have to pay a price for the emissions it produces, which affects things like cement used in construction and fuel used by cruise ships. Proposed taxes on imports of goods from countries with less stringent climate policies outside the European Union could potentially invite disputes in the World Trade Organization.

It has geopolitical implications. The cross-border carbon tax proposal greatest impact on goods According to data analyzed by the European Reform Center, mainly iron, steel and aluminum from Russia and Turkey. According to the analysis, the impact on US exports to Europe will be much smaller.

If the bids are accepted, it will see the last petrol or diesel cars sold in the European Union by 2035; It requires 38.5 percent of all energy to come from renewable sources by 2030; increasing the price charged for carbon released to make fossil fuels increasingly expensive to use; and financially helping those most affected by possible price increases.

The carbon cap tax will not only undermine global trade and invite conflicts over protectionism, it could also create new diplomatic fault lines ahead of the Glasgow talks.

The meeting is an important moment for major polluting nations to demonstrate what they will do to address the greenhouse gas emissions that are putting the world on a dangerous warming path. All eyes are on the targets set by the USA and China, which currently produce the largest share of greenhouse gases.

Although the European Union produces only 8 percent of current global carbon emissions, its cumulative emissions since the beginning of the industrial age are among the highest in the world. But as a huge market, it also sees itself as a major regulatory force for the world and hopes to set an example, invent new technologies it can sell, and provide new global standards that can lead to a carbon-neutral economy.

“Europe was the first continent to declare climate neutral in 2050 and we are now the first continent to put a concrete roadmap on the table,” said Ms. von der Leyen.

Some analysts said that although the carbon cap tax imposes new tariffs on imports, the proposals are not enough to help developing countries shift their economies away from fossil fuels. Others said the proposed tax on jet fuel only applies to flights within the European Union, exempting 60 percent of fuel sales.

“By not removing the tax exemption for flights outside the EU, it still gets the majority off the hook,” said Andrew Murphy, aviation director of advocacy group Transport & Environment.

Frans Timmermans, Commission vice-president for the environment and Europe’s ‘Green Deal’, acknowledges the difficulty of this challenge. We will ask many of our citizens,” he said. “We will also ask many of our industries, but we are doing this for a good cause. We do this to give humanity a fighting chance.”

The EU target of 55 percent, down from 40 percent by law in June, has led to a significant setback by industry, lobby groups, and some member states that have traditionally been more dependent on fossil fuels, particularly in poorer Central Europe. So the Commission has worked for ten years to create incremental tokens for industry, including free carbon credits and millions of euros in financial aid.

One of the key proposals announced Wednesday is the overhaul of the European carbon market, known as the Emissions Trading Scheme, where major carbon producers such as the steel, cement and energy industries pay directly for their carbon emissions.

hundreds of pages proposed laws A slogan that the commission calls “Fit for 55”, which some joke about, would be more appropriate for a yoga studio will be sharply debated as a slogan and will inevitably be changed before it becomes binding on the 27-member bloc.

There are concerns that the poor will pay an unfair portion of the cost of decarbonisation, and that it will be seen as an elite project and spark further political backlash from populist parties and groups, such as the climate-related “yellow vests” protests in 2018. Increase in French gasoline prices.

This was a warning repeated by Pascal Canfin, the French head of Parliament’s environmental committee, warning that the expansion of the carbon market to heating and fuel could spark protests. We experienced this in France,” he said. “He gave us the yellow vests.”

But the proposals also include a Social Climate Fund raised from these new taxes, which could provide up to 70 billion euros (about $83 billion) to help governments help the people most affected.

Mr Tagliapietra said the European Union was “the first major economy in the world to begin translating the goal of climate neutrality into real-world policy action”. “But if there is one principle that should guide the negotiations over the next two years, it’s definitely the climate justice principle.”

Mr Timmermans said it was “the task of the Commission to demonstrate that this leads to solidarity and justice in this transition”.

“If we can prove it, I think there will be less resistance. If we can’t prove it, I think the resistance will be huge.”

Steven Erlanger reported from Brussels and Somini Sengupta from New York. Monika Pronczuk Contributing reports from Brussels, Jack Ewing Jim Tankersley from Frankfurt and Katie Rogers from Washington.


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