Why the EU is less than a jolly-green-giant by Charlemagne for the Economist

Updated: Jul 16, 2021

Be warned: the nature and challenge of climate change legislation will be the preserve of the European Union and not the elected governments of member states. In one sense it plays into their hands, climate being no respecter of national borders. On the other, it represents a political hot-potato which may well burn the hands and mouths of EU officials faced with the challenge of making Europe 'fit for 55' as Charlemagne explains in this week's Economist.

"What sounds like a gentle aerobics class for the middle-aged is in fact a series of sweeping environmental reforms that will set the direction of climate policy for the next decade. In a glut of legislation, the European Commission put forward 13 proposals with the aim of slashing emissions to 55% below their 1990 level by 2030. Carbon-intensive imports, such as industrial materials, face a levy at the EU’s border for the first time—which is already causing grumbling among trade partners. Sectors once exempt from emissions-trading schemes, such as transport and domestic heating, will have to pay for the carbon they spit out. Those already covered will have to pay more. Cars with internal combustion engines will disappear from European forecourts by 2035."

The article concludes:

"Slashing emissions is a rotten problem for the officials, politicians and diplomats who must solve it. The costs come now and the benefits are reaped only in a generation, points out Elisabetta Cornago of the Centre for European Reform, a think-tank. Industry lobbyists are happy to accept targets for climate neutrality by 2050, when they will have retired but—funnily enough—not by 2030 when they will mostly still be in their jobs. Voters, too, are keen on going green, yet do not expect any aspect of their lives to change significantly. National politicians have a choice: share the political burden with Brussels, or shift the blame. Brussels provides a convenient scapegoat. For the EU, the process of going green will be painful, whatever silly name Eurocrats give it."

The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:

Article from The Economist - Why the European Union is a less-than-jolly green giant by Ch
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