European Green Deal

On 11 December 2019 the European Commission announced the content of its much-anticipated European Green Deal. The Green Deal is something which has been on the horizon but has escaped the limelight as recent conversations have been dominated by Brexit, Boris and Brussels. This article highlights what the Green Deal contains and what this means going forward.

The Green Deal sets out the overarching objectives of how the EU will move towards a more sustainable future. These include, inter alia, the aim to make Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050, establishing a Just Transition funds with the help of public and private sector money and delivering a sustainable investment plan.

The Commission will launch several new initiatives to help achieve the ambitious aims of the Green Deal which prioritises:

  • Increasing the EU’s climate ambition for 2030 and 2050
  • Supplying clean, affordable and secure energy
  • Mobilising industry for a clean and circular economy
  • Building and renovation in an energy and resource efficient way
  • Accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility
  • From ‘Farm to Fork’: designing a fair, healthy and environmentally- friendly food system
  • Preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity
  • A zero-pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment

The EU seeks to mobilise €1 trillion of investments to help to fund the transition to a climate-neutral continent. The Commission aims to ensure that no-one is left behind as a result of the transition to a climate-neutral economy. The Just Transition Mechanism will be designed to help minimise the impact on those workers and communities that rely on fossil fuels or carbon-intensive processes providing them with access to re-skilling programmes and jobs in new economic sectors.

The enormity of change that the Green Deal will bring should not be underestimated and it will lead to significant changes in priorities, business models, skill requirements. There is no doubt there will be teething problems however businesses have been given 30 years notice which aims to ensure they have the information, time and money to implement the changes required.

2020 is set to be a pioneering year for European Climate Law and Policy. The following lists a number of developments to expect throughout 2020:

  • March 2020 - Commission will propose the first European ‘Climate Law’ to establish a statutory basis for this target
  • March 2020- The Commission will launch a European Climate Pact
  • March 2020 - Commission will adopt an EU industrial strategy to address the twin challenge of the green and the digital transformation
  • Mid 2020 - Commission will present measures to help achieve smart integration of renewables, energy efficiency and other sustainable solutions
  • Summer 2020- Commission will present an impact assessed plan to increase the EU’s greenhouse gas emission reductions target for 2030 to at least 50% and towards 55%
  • October - December - The Commission will present a renewed sustainable finance strategy
  • Before the end of 2020 - Commission will produce guidance to assist Member States in addressing the issue of energy poverty.
  • Before the end of 2020 - The Commission will present a renewed sustainable finance strategy

Full text of the EU Green Deal can be found here

The UK’s Green New Deal

In March 2019, the United Kingdom’s Green New Deal Bill ‘Decarbonisation and Economic Strategy Bill’ was presented to the Government by two MP’s in an attempt to lay down foundations of a UK Green Deal. The bill is yet to be debated in Parliament. Nevertheless, if the bill were passed by the Conservative UK government, it would require them to implement a 10-year public investment plan.

The Green New Deal Bill’s target is to “decarbonise the United Kingdom economy and to eradicate inequality.”

The framework for the Green New Deal Bill sets out radical changes to the way the financial system is managed. The Green New Deal Group have said that such changes are needed to make the Green New Deal a reality. The changes are laid down under the following headings: Taking back control from the markets to open-up opportunities for change, investing in what we need, delivering the confidence investors are calling for, creating a safe future for our pension and savings, new objectives for business, and new kinds of businesses, replacing our measures of progress.

The Green New Deal Group have proposed that the UK government invest up to 5% of Britain’s annual GDP – or £100bn annually for the next 10 years. The group threatens that to not invest in the Green New Deal would: “inflict great economic, environmental and social self-harm on the nation.”[1] The Green New Deal aims to transform almost every aspect of UK life by setting an action plan for the UK and including: Transforming housing and energy, ensuring a ‘Just Transition’, A better way to eat: farming for the future, Creating space for nature: revitalising our ecosystems, Getting around: walking, cycling and public transport, Great ways to work and play, Redistributing power and resources, Guaranteeing Global Justice and Removing the barriers

[1] https://greennewdealgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/GND_A_Bill_To_Make_It_Happen.pd