Legislation as the climate change challenge and the Green Deal solution cuts across all of society
The Green Deal Strategy (and its Acton Plan) is transformative. It recognises that to meet the challenge of net zero requires action by everyone in every aspect of society and the economy. We must go further and faster. More renewable electricity on its own is not enough. Instead, we must re-think of all the ways we contribute to climate change (manufacturing, transportation, heating) to have a holistic approach.
Hence, the European Commission is developing a wide range of Green Deal strategies including on biodiversity, agriculture, buildings, taxation (including a carbon border tax) and decarbonising the energy sector to transition to clean energy.
In 2021, major reforms to EU laws are expected including on renewables, emissions trading and clean hydrogen.
As an EU Agency, ACER is playing its part by applying a Green Deal lens to its core work and providing expertise on key energy legislative files (such hydrogen or ensuring the TEN-E energy infrastructure funding framework is fit for purpose for decarbonisation).
The challenge of climate neutrality is huge. The European Commission's proposed European Climate Law (in the final stages of negotiations by Europe's co-legislators) seeks to make carbon neutrality a legal obligation. A key part of the Green Deal is setting targets for GHG emissions every decade until “net-zero" GHG emissions is reached by 2025.
For the year 2030, the European Council endorsed a cut of “at least 55% in GHG emissions (the earlier 2030 target was a 40% cut) in December 2020 whereas the European Parliament calls for an even more ambitious 60% emissions cut.
Financing a climate-led COVID-19 recovery
A pillar of the Commission's Green Deal proposal is to increase funding for the transition by mobilising €1 trillion for sustainable investment over the next decade, and to put sustainable finance at the heart of the financial system.
The EU's €750 billion Next Generation EU (NGEU) recovery package (agreed by the Council in July 2020) targets climate change with 37% of it dedicated to the European Green Deal. A Just Transition Mechanism addresses equity concerns by focusing on the regions, industries and workers who will face the greatest challenges in the transition to a cleaner Europe.