What’s happening with the EU Green Deal?
Wondering where we stand on the EU Green Deal? Here’s a look at key measures and milestones on the road to reducing greenhouse emissions.
The EU Green Deal represents the multisectoral – and ambitious – initiative set out in 2019 by the EU Commission to fight climate change. At its core, is the overarching objective of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The idea? To combine efforts across different policy areas, such as energy, industry, infrastructure, biodiversity, food and agriculture, for a radical transformation of Europe’s society and economy.
The result? A whirlwind of proposals and plans that companies are trying to keep track of. Here’s a look at the global set of policies the Commission has laid out – and what to look for next.
Key milestones of the EU Green Deal
- Coming soon: It’s likely that we’ll soon see the approval of some Fit for 55 proposals. However, it’s very complicated to give dates (even approximately) as the Council and Parliament need to approve the same text, and this could require several back-and-forths. Check back for an update when it happens!
- 22 June 2022: The Commission adopts the nature protection package. These proposals aim to repair damages to European ecosystems, as well as halve the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 2030. The package will help restore, for instance, wetlands, rivers, forests and urban environments.
- 18 May 2022: The Commission presents the REPowerEU. It’s a plan aimed to foster the EU’s energy independency. To do so, it seeks to diversify gas supplies, speed up the roll-out of renewable gases, as well as replace gas in heating and power generation.
- 5 April 2022: The Commission introduces its proposals to update the EU industrial emissions rules. The goal is to guide the industrial investments necessary for Europe’s zero-pollution transformation, by, for instance, making permitting more effective, reducing administrative costs, improving installations’ environmental and energy performance, and spurring innovation.
- 30 March 2022: The Commission presents its proposals to make sustainable products the norm in the EU. This set of rules aims to make almost all physical goods on the EU market more environmentally friendly. The proposed measure will affect products’ entire lifecycle, from the design phase through to daily use, and end-of-life.
- 15 December 2021: The Commission adopts a set of legislative proposals to decarbonise the EU gas market. Their goal is to ensure energy security, as well as help decarbonise the energy the EU consumes thorough the uptake of renewable and low carbon gases, including hydrogen.
- 14 December 2021: The Commission adopts four proposals to modernise the EU’s transport system. They intend to cut emissions by in the transport sector, by, among others, promoting alternative refuelling infrastructure, and new digital technologies, as well as shifting more passengers and freight to rail and inland waterways.
- 17 November 2021: The Commission adopts 3 initiatives to stop deforestation, innovate sustainable waste management and make soils healthy. Their combined propositions set forward the tools to enable the circular economy transition, protect nature, and raise environmental standards.
- 14 July 2021: The Commission presents its Fit for 55 Package, a set of proposals to deliver the target to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and, overall, make the European Green Deal a reality. The package tackles, among others, the Effort Sharing Regulation, Renewable Energy Directive, Energy Efficiency Directive, Energy Taxation Directive, Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, EU Emissions Trading System – for power, industry, maritime & aviation, and Land Use, Forestry and Agriculture Regulation.
- 17 May 2021: The Commission proposes a Sustainable blue economy. The initiative seeks to make blue economy sectors (such as fisheries, aquaculture, coastal tourism, maritime transport, port activities and shipbuilding) reduce their environmental impact, promoting a sustainable use of seas’ resources to create, among others, alternatives to fossil fuels.
- 12 May 2021: The Commission adopts the Zero pollution Action Plan, which sets the target to reduce pollution by 2050 to levels that are no longer harmful to human health and natural ecosystems.
- 25 March 2021: The Commission launches the Organic Action Plan, putting forward an initiative for organic production in the EU, as to develop a sustainable food system for the EU.
- 24 February 2021: The European Commission adopts the EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change aimed to make the EU response to the inevitable effects of climate change (from heatwaves and droughts to deforestation) smarter, swifter, and more systemic.
- 18 January 2021: The Commission launches the New European Bauhaus, a wide project with environmental, economic and cultural connotations combining design, sustainability, accessibility, affordability and investment.
- 10 December 2020: The Commission proposes to update the EU legislation on batteries. The goal is to make batteries more sustainable, high-performing and safe throughout their entire life cycle.
- 9 December 2020: The Commission launches the European Climate Pact. The initiative provides people, communities and organisationswith a space to share information, ideas and plan actions on the green transition.
- 19 November 2020: The Commission presents the EU Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy, by which it proposes to increase Europe’s offshore wind capacity from its current level of 12 GW to at least 60 GW by 2030 and to 300 GW by 2050.
- 14 October 2020: The Commission publishes its Renovation wave, aimed to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, the Methane Strategy, seeking to cut methane emissions in order to achieve the 2030 and 2050 targets, as well as the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, which paves the way for safer and more sustainable chemicals.
- 17 September 2020: The Commission presents the 2030 Climate Target, its plan to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, as part of the path to achieving climate neutrality by 2050.
- 08 July 2020: The EU strategies for energy system integration and hydrogen are adopted. They intend to enable a progressive decarbonization of the energy sector, by, among others, integrating the different energy carriers , such as electricity, heat, cold, gas, solid and liquid fuels.
- 20 May 2020: The Commission presents the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Farm to fork strategy, respectively aimed to halt biodiversity loss and make the food system sustainable, with targets including a reduction by 50% of the use and risk of pesticides, and by at least 20% of the use of fertilizers.
- 11 March 2020: The European Commission adopts the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP), which lays down measures on sustainable resource use along the entire life cycle of products, to enable the transition towards a circular economy.
- 10 March 2020: The European Commission adopts the European Industrial Strategy. It contains a package of initiatives to lead Europe’s industrial transformation, ranging from the review of EU competition rules to the modernzsation and decarbonization of energy-intensive industries.
- 4 March 2020: The European Commission presents the proposal for a European Climate Law providing a legally binding target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The Climate Law is the legal translation of our political commitment and sets us irreversibly on the path to a more sustainable future.”
- 14 January 2020: The European Green Deal Investment Plan and the Just Transition Mechanism (JTM) are presented. The first aims to mobilise at least €1 trillion of investments needed for the transition to a climate-neutral economy over the next ten years. On the other hand, the JTM is the key-tool to ensure that the green transition is carried out in the fairest way possible and leaving no one behind. To this end, it mobilises at least €100 billion over the period 2021-2027 in the regions most affected by the socio-economic impact of the transition.
- 11 December 2019: The European Commission presents the European Green Deal (EGD), a roadmap to make the EU the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050. To do so, the EGD covers several key-sectors, from transport, to energy, agriculture, buildings, and industries such as steel, textiles, and chemicals. The Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “Our plan sets out how to cut emissions, restore the health of our natural environment, protect our wildlife, create new economic opportunities, and improve the quality of life of our citizens.”
Where does the EU Green Deal go from here?
The EU Green Deal is intended to reset EU society as a green society, providing it with a modern, sustainable, and competitive economy. But in order to translate “want” into reality, the above summary of plans and policies will have to be followed by effective and coherent actions. The actual implementation of these outlined proposals will give us the first peek into Europe’s tangible ability to keep faith to its bold climate-neutrality commitment. Watch this space as we continue to update this list with each new step on the road to net zero.