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  • Extreme weather is occurring more and more often.

  • These examples all took place within two weeks  

  • and show how climate change is increasing  the intensity and frequency of these events.

  • Scientists have been begging for urgent  action, and Europe is stepping up the plate.

  • The European Commission put  forward the world's first  

  • wide-ranging and concrete set of measures  to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • So, what's the plan?

  • The European Union has pledged to reduce  net greenhouse gas emissions by at least  

  • 55% from 1990 levels within the next ten years.

  • That's very ambitious because it has only cut  its emission by 24% so far since 1990 and it is  

  • putting in place a lot of policies designed to  get it to that more ambitious target in 2030.

  • The aim is to become carbon neutral by 2050,  

  • and now it's published the proposals it hopes  will help the 27-member bloc reach that goal.

  • For example, the new measures would mandate:

  • a de facto ban on producing new dieseland gasoline-powered cars by 2035,

  • producing at least 40% of  energy from renewable sources,

  • and planting three billion  trees across Europe by 2030.

  • The centerpiece of this package  is a plan to make polluters  

  • pay for their emissions. So how would this work?

  • Europe's Emissions Trading Systemwhich has been in place since 2005,  

  • puts a limit on the total amount of greenhouse  gases that businesses across the EU can emit.

  • Under the scheme, a set number of emissions  allowances are issued every year.

  • Companies must hold enough of these allowances to cover their emissions, or they'll get a big fine.

  • These allowances act as a type of currency.

  • If a company doesn't have enough  allowances, they must either cut  

  • their emissions or buy allowances off  another business who didn't use theirs up.

  • This serves as a financial incentive,  

  • rewarding companies which cut their carbon  dependency and upping costs for big polluters.

  • The overall limit is gradually reduced over time  

  • to keep the continent on course  for its long-term climate targets.

  • And the European Commission  wants to take it a step further.

  • The aviation industry, for instance, had been  exempt from these requirements since 2012.

  • The commission wants to phase that out.

  • It also wants shipping, one  of the most polluting sectors,

  • to be included in its  emissions trading scheme too.

  • It has also suggested a second Emissions Trading System, which would include road

  • transportation and emissions from buildings.

  • We have seen dramatic falls in greenhouse  gas emissions from the power sector,  

  • but the two laggards at the moment is transportsit's the way we get around and then the other is  

  • on the buildings sector, where at the moment  too many houses in Europe are heated by gas,

  • fossil gas, we need to get rid of that, we need  to get out of this system entirely and they're the  

  • trickiest nuts to crack because they have  a direct impacts on the lives of citizens,

  • so it's really important that we address those  emissions in a way which is socially fair.

  • The commission is aware that the transition  to carbon neutrality will have a cost,

  • and that it's likely to hit the most  vulnerable parts of society the hardest.

  • That's why it has suggested that 25%  

  • of the revenue from emissions trading  should go to a Social Climate Fund.

  • The fund will be dedicated to helping these  citizens pay for energy efficient technologies,

  • including heating and cooling  systems and cleaner transport.

  • But the EU can't control what  happens outside of its borders,  

  • which is why the commission also wants  to impose a carbon price on imports.

  • The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, also  known as CBAM, puts a price on carbon imports.

  • It's designed to incentivize  places with less stringent  

  • emission rules to reduce their carbon footprint.

  • If approved, it would make importing these  goods just as expensive as producing them  

  • on the continent under the  EU's carbon pricing rules.

  • But countries such as China, India, South Africa  and Brazil have raised concerns about what

  • this could mean for their economies and people.

  • CBAM has very big implications for  countries which are exporting into  

  • the EU market and they are going to have to  

  • invest in serious dialogue with those  countries to bring them on board.

  • And one of the ways to do that is to make  sure that the revenues that will be generated  

  • are returned to those countries to  support their low carbon transition.

  • As you can see, this plan is quite detailed.

  • And though it takes concrete steps  towards a carbon neutral continent,  

  • some environmental groups say Europe  should be even more ambitious.

  • We find that this package is not crediblethat this package is much too low  

  • and that this package gives the impression  that the EU is acting when actually the  

  • action is too weak, too slow to prevent the  dramatic impacts of runaway climate change.

  • For Greenpeace this package is based on a target  that is too low, is not aligned with science  

  • and it will not prevent the ongoing destruction  of the earth's life's support systems.

  • If they had proposed this climate package 30  years ago, I think they would have received  

  • a lot of praise but now we no longer have  the time for the small evolutionary steps.

  • Others are concerned about implementation.

  • It's fine to set the policy, but we  have seen many cases where policies  

  • haven't really been realized.

  • We look for instance to what  happened in France when it  

  • tried to increase carbon taxes  on fuels. It led to a backlash.

  • These proposals are now in the hands  of European lawmakers, who will have to  

  • decide whether they go too far or lack the  ambition needed to tackle climate change.

  • Which leaves one more critical questionwhen will they come into force?

  • It is not going to be an easy path. We can  expect at least two years of legislative process.

  • We have up to 12 pieces of legislation with really  

  • significant implications for the  European economy, all moving together.

  • So, on the one hand this means there is a huge  complexity, there is a huge workload, a huge  

  • burden but at the same time there are  advantages in trying to do everything  

  • together in a big package, because it  means that you can have trade-offs.

  • One of the reasons that we can have some hope here  is that businesses, companies won't need to wait

  • for all of this legislation to be made law before  they start changing the way they do business.

  • The signal has now been sent; the winners  in the new economy will be the ones that  

  • move fastest towards zero carbon business models.

  • We are already too late in moving  on climate change, we can see  

  • this summer, extreme weather events all around the  world, and it is going to continue to get worse  

  • for at least the next three decades  until we get to net zero as a world.

  • We need to make this transition orderly  because if we kill lots of people and lose  

  • lots of jobs in the process of getting to net  zero then that will not be a successful route.

  • We need an orderly but accelerated  transition towards net zero emissions.

Extreme weather is occurring more and more often.

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The European Green Deal: Europe’s last-ditch climate plan | CNBC Reports

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    Summer posted on 2021/08/25
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