The reactions are as expected as they are understandable: when the European Commission recently presented its ambitious legislative package on climate protection, environmentalists and green parliamentarians welcomed the request, but complained of shortcomings and a lack of ambition . At the same time, conservative politicians and industry representatives demand a sense of proportion and warn against excessive charges.
Both sides are right. In fact, ambition and speed are important in slowing the fatal global warming. It would cost even more to do nothing: Forest fires and catastrophic floods are an impressive warning that Europe is also directly affected by the consequences. However, it is also undisputed that the Commission’s climate protection initiatives will strain many businesses and employees, national budgets and consumers. Anyone who dismisses complaints about them as complaints from interest-driven lobbyists and people just turning a blind eye to the climate crisis makes it easier.
On the contrary: the global climate can only be saved if the EU takes seriously the legitimate concerns of industry and citizens. Because Europe alone cannot stop global warming anyway; the EU depends on other economic blocs to follow suit. And they won’t if the Green Deal, Brussels’ climate and environmental protection agenda, leads to social and economic upheaval – a Europe with layoffs and mass protests would be a frightening example.
The EU accounts for less than ten percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and this figure is expected to drop to five percent by 2030. The Green Deal aims to make Europe climate neutral by 2050. The continent would no longer contribute to global warming. Sounds good, but it wouldn’t do much for the climate if the United States or China continued to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
It’s perfectly normal to be less ambitious
Therefore, with the Brussels Green Deal, the role of role model for the rest of the world is more important than the direct effect: climate neutrality for the comparatively insignificant polluter that is Europe. The European Commission continues to stress that the program will turn local businesses into green technology pioneers and create many jobs. If this succeeds, the Green Deal would truly be an attractive model that other economic powers will be happy to emulate.
But the road to this bright green future – if it comes – will be very difficult. In Germany, for example, the planned end of the combustion engine puts many jobs at car manufacturers and suppliers at risk. It is also becoming increasingly expensive for European industry to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere: a disadvantage in the face of competition from the United States or China. Governments will need to support industries and workers with subsidies during the transition – with money from already tight government budgets. Consumers will pay more for gasoline and heat.
Are Europeans ultimately exploited idiots?
Most citizens and entrepreneurs understood that they had to make sacrifices for the climate. However, it is important that these charges are fairly distributed and amortized. Moreover, due to climate protection, jobs and production cannot simply be relocated – from the EU to factories on other continents, where lax regulations apply. It wouldn’t help the climate, but it would make Europeans, rightly so, feel like exploited idiots.
This is why the EU must ask itself how it can mitigate the inconvenience for certain industries with every climate law. And if international competition concerns threaten, companies must be protected from unfair competition. If, therefore, the new EU guidelines on greenhouse gases turn out to be less ambitious than what might be desirable, that is perfectly fine: instead of green purism, pragmatism must be in the spotlight. ‘agenda. Protecting the climate is important, but it is just as important to avoid turmoil and waves of bankruptcies. Only in this way can Europe become an ecological model for the world – and save the planet’s climate.