Brussels (AP) - Ursula von der Leyen did not spare in big words. "We'll do our best when we're brave and set the goal high," said the EU Commission's chief on Wednesday in the European Parliament. "With our Green Deal, we are setting the goal high." By 2050, Europe will become the first continent to become "climate-neutral", that's what Leyen has set itself.
What this means, one can perhaps guess when looking out of a window in the city center: All cars that are tormented today by clogged roads, should be replaced in 30 years by emission-free models, all houses so insulated that you practically no longer heat or has to cool. Cities are to be greened and countless new trees are planted. The industry should produce without exhaust gases, farms too, power generators anyway. It is a new economic model that demands of the Leyen, a completely different Europe, a generation project.
The German is not alone in the plan - in the special session of the EU Parliament, the major parties signaled support. Almost all EU countries are also behind the goal of "climate neutrality" by 2050, which is to be officially stipulated at the EU summit on Thursday. But until recently Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were at odds. If they do not come on board, the fate of the Green Deal would be uncertain. And the desired signal to the UN Climate Change Conference running in Madrid would be lost.
WHAT THE GREEN DEAL IS
At the heart of the "green deal" are two goals: A climate law, which should be available by March 2020, is intended to irrevocably anchor "climate neutrality 2050". Until then, all greenhouse gases should be avoided or stored. What is needed is a complete restructuring of industry, energy, transport and agriculture. The second point is an ambitious milestone: the EU should reduce its greenhouse gases by 50 to 55 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. So far, a loss of 40 percent is planned.
WHAT IS IN THE GREEN DEAL
The new objectives aim to align all EU legislation with a mix of incentives, support and guidance. The headlines of the bills and programs announced for 2020 and 2021 alone fill three pages. As early as January, a "mechanism for fair change" will be presented. Kern is a fund from which regions get money for which the conversion is particularly hard, coal mining, for example. 100 billion euros are to be mobilized. Then follow an industrial strategy; Import hurdles for climate-damaging goods; a clean transport strategy and new emission limits for cars; the expansion of emissions trading in shipping and air traffic; faster expansion of energy efficiency and green energy.
New standards for clean air and clean water are also planned; an agrarian and agri-environment reform; the drastic reduction of pesticides and fertilizers; a plan for afforestation and preservation of forests. All in all, von der Leyen wants to initiate green investments for one trillion euros. She criticizes the high costs: "We should not forget how expensive it would be to not act." Billions are already suffering the consequences of floods, droughts and other weather disasters.
WHAT THE GREEN DEAL IS TO DO
The aim is to avert the overheating of the earth and thus to avoid catastrophic consequences as far as possible. This has already been agreed in 2015 in the Paris Climate Agreement. It states that global warming should be stopped at less than two degrees, and possibly even at 1.5 degrees, measured against pre-industrial times. After new warnings of science is actually only the 1.5-degree target the speech. The United Nations also demands "climate neutrality" by 2050. The EU wants to be a pioneer and then sell its technical solutions to all over the world. Von der Leyen emphasizes this: "The European Green Deal is our new growth strategy."
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY
Above all, environmental organizations and the Greens consider the target for 2030 to be inadequate. To implement the Paris Agreement, the greenhouse gases would have to be lowered by 65 percent, says Greenpeace. Conservatives and industry, on the other hand, say climate neutrality in 2050 is not possible according to the current state of affairs. Of "magical thinking" spoke recently the Federal Association of German Industry. In addition, Europe has only a share of 9 percent of global greenhouse gases and the major polluters China and USA did not share the ambition. Von der Leyen stops it. "It will be a long and sometimes bumpy road, without question," she said in parliament. But: "We know that it is feasible."
Information about the Green Deal