EU Vows to Stick to Green Goals Despite Geopolitical Challenges

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union is committed to turning its ambitious Green Deal strategy into a reality and says it won’t be deterred by mounting geopolitical challenges.

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“What is very clear is that our climate ambition increasingly goes hand-in-hand with energy security,” Kurt Vandenberghe, director general for climate at the European Commission, told a conference hosted by the European University Institute in Florence on Wednesday. “We will stay the course, whatever happens in the world; in the very changing, volatile world.”

The 27-nation bloc recently approved a Green Deal package that aims to accelerate pollution cuts in the next decade on the way to achieving climate-neutrality by mid-century. Under the pact, the EU must create an emissions-trading system for buildings and transportation and introduce a carbon border levy. The overhaul is set to occur as the continent faces tougher competition for clean technology from China and the US and is grappling with the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In its shift to a sustainable economy, the EU is coming under pressure from businesses and governments to rethink some of its policies or risk losing investors to President Joe Biden’s $369 billion package of tax breaks. While regulators in Brussels proposed a mix of measures this week including domestic production targets and quicker permitting for key clean-tech projects earlier this year, the response from investors was lukewarm.

When enacting the laws to meet the EU’s 2030 goal of reducing emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels the bloc will ensure funds to help the industry stay competitive, said Vandenberghe.

The bloc’s next step in the clean shift will be setting an intermediary emissions-reduction target for 2040. The commission, whose current term ends next year, will in early 2024 present a policy document offering a range or options for the goal, leaving the final numbers to be decided by its successor, according to Vandenberghe.

In the post-2030 framework, key elements will include the role of carbon removals, more stringent rules to reduce emissions from agriculture and ensuring a stronger circular economy, he said.

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