2019 has marked a fundamental turning point in the energy transition of the European Union (EU). A very large majority of Member States have embraced the carbon neutrality by 2050 target, and reluctance from the others (especially Poland) is likely to be overcome at the European Council meeting on 12 December 2019, by assurances of EU financial support for structural change in high-emitting regions.
This should lead to adopting more ambitious climate commitments for 2030.This broad consensus on carbon neutrality was still unthinkable only a few months ago, and it marks a clear break that will involve an acceleration of efforts and their extension to all greenhouse gases and all sectors: not just electricity, but also buildings, transport, industry and agriculture. Targeting carbon neutrality will affect and mobilise all actors in society, at all levels. It will require new financing but also the better use of existing tools, and their refocusing on climate concerns.We are embarking on a Thirty Years’ War against greenhouse gases.
It is vital to make the right diagnoses, clarify decarbonisation pathways, define a strategy and adopt the right instruments. In terms of industrial and economic cycles, 2050 is practically tomorrow. The main battle will therefore be waged in the next years.
By announcing a “Green Deal” in the first 100 days of her Presidency of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen is promising to react rapidly, in a broad and radical manner. So what should the key priorities be?