24 January 2020
European Green Deal aims for historic change
This year’s Davos World Economic Forum has seen much discussion around the climate crisis as business leaders and government meet to discuss the pressing issues facing the world today. Among those speaking at the Forum was Frans Timmermans the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President for the European Union’s Green Deal. The European Green Deal is a legislative roadmap launched in December 2019 which tackles the growing threat presented by the rise of emissions and pollution. The Deal lays out a plan for decarbonizing the European economy over the course of the next three decades, reaching climate-neutrality by 2050. The Deal combines policy measures with investment in technology, research, and innovation for a broad scope of activities that are intended to both cut emissions as well as support the growth of European expertise in combating climate change.
At Davos, Timmermans observed that climate change is one of the issues where large-scale action is absolutely necessary, requiring a continental commitment to the goals and means of addressing this threat. The European Green Deal has been characterized as an effort similar to the radical policy and public investment effort undertaken by the United States under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the wake of the Great Depression in the 1930s as the country struggled to recover from the economic devastation. The climate crisis is an issue that presents a threat to not just one country but the world and draws wide concern from citizens and lawmakers alike with 93% of Europeans seeing climate change as a serious problem.
The European Green Deal has drawn praise from experts as well, noting the emphasis on ensuring a just and inclusive transition that has been written into the Deal from its outset as well as its acknowledgment of the need for consistent, long-reaching action which will take decades, not years.