July 14, 2021 Read More →

EC lays out major climate plans to cut fossil use, expand renewables

New York Times ($):

Europe on Wednesday laid out an ambitious blueprint for a sharply decarbonized future over the next nine years, marking the start of what promises to be a difficult and bruising two-year negotiation among industry, 27 countries and the European Parliament.

The political importance of the effort, pushed by the European Commission, the E.U.’s bureaucracy, is without doubt. It puts Brussels in the forefront of the world’s efforts to decarbonize and reach the goal of a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. To force the issue, Brussels has committed to reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases 55 percent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.

Although the European Union produces only about 8 percent of current global carbon emissions, its cumulative emissions since the start of the industrial age are among the world’s highest. It also sees itself as an important regulatory power for the world and hopes to set an example, invent new technologies that it can sell and provide new global standards that can lead to a carbon-neutral economy.

The United States has promised to reduce emissions 40 to 43 percent over the same period. Britain, which will host COP-26, the international climate talks, in November, has pledged a 68 percent reduction. China, the world’s largest emitter of carbon, has said only that it aims for emissions to peak by 2030.

“Europe was the first continent to declare to be climate neutral in 2050, and now we are the very first ones to put a concrete road map on the table,” the Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, said on Wednesday.

[Steven Erlanger]

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