July 25, 2021

“We are entering the hard part of the green pact”

Who says “big bang” legislative said explosion of reactions. The presentation by the European Commission, Wednesday July 14, of a dozen legislative proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union (EU) has aroused a mixed reception on the part of political staff, NGOs and businesses. While most players recognize the overall ambition of the measures, they also express their demands, while a phase of negotiations begins with the Council and Parliament, which should change the initial texts.

“With this very coherent package, we finally get into the hard part of the European Green Pact which aims to accelerate the ecological and industrial transition”, welcomes Thomas Pellerin-Carlin, director of the energy center of the Jacques-Delors Institute. “If this legislative package were adopted as it is, it would put the European Union on the path to its objective for 2030”, adds the expert. The Twenty-Seven have pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990, in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Rights to pollute

“All sites are open to achieve our goal. There is no deadlock on a sector. Even aviation and shipping, which were until now a blind spot, are now involved “, adds Neil Makaroff. However, the head of European policies of the coalition of French NGOs Réseau Action Climat calls for “Raise the level of ambition”. For the Climate Action Network, which brings together more than 1,300 NGOs worldwide, the European Union should aim to reduce emissions of“At least 65%” in 2030, to do its part to limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5 ° C, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement. “Celebrating this legislative package is as if a high jump athlete is asking for a medal to be passed under the bar”, ironically, for his part, the European director of Greenpeace, Jorgo Riss, who denounces that “Many policies will not come into effect for ten years or more”.

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The most controversial measure in the package lies in the proposal to create a second carbon market for road transport and heating of buildings from 2026. In practice, this would amount to imposing on suppliers of fuel, gas or fuel oil. to buy rights to pollute, an additional cost that they would pass on to household bills. This additional cost could amount to more than 400 euros per year on average over the period 2025-2040, assuming a moderate carbon price, according to calculations by the Brussels-based NGO European Roundtable on Climate Change and Sustainable. Transition. “The very volatile price of CO2 risk of hitting households hard, especially the most modest ”, worries Neil Makaroff, who fears a mechanism capable of “Derail the green pact”. The social climate fund, which must be created to help the most vulnerable cushion the new carbon market, is “Totally insufficient”, he judges, while he would be endowed with 72 billion euros over seven years, to be shared between the Twenty-Seven.

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