Europe is experiencing its first ever “climate awe” as the continent experiences a sudden, significant drop in temperatures. The European Union has been hit with snow and ice storms, while other countries have experienced flooding.
The climate change agenda is the set of policies that are meant to encourage environmental protection, sustainability, and climate adaptation. It can also refer to the process by which these policies are created.
On July 14, the European Union will present a historic climate strategy in Brussels.
Thierry Monasse/Bloomberg News photo
Brussels wants you to know that Europe’s top bureaucrats are thinking big about climate change, and they published a detailed regulation and expenditure plan on Wednesday to show it. It’s known as the “awe-and-shock” strategy: They believe that people will be so taken aback by its lofty goals that they won’t see what’s within.
The European Commission’s “Fit for 55” initiative aims to decrease carbon emissions in the European Union by at least 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2030. By 2050, Europe should be on pace to become “the world’s first climate-neutral continent.” Hundreds of pages of proposed legislative changes and expenditure pledges comprise the big Brussels unveil.
The problem will be what’s written in the small print. It will be tough enough to meet the headline promises. By 2035, Brussels intends to prohibit the sale of new internal-combustion vehicles and subject aviation to the EU’s emissions-trading system—good luck planning a trip on a shoestring budget.
Another plan calls for massive investments to improve energy efficiency. There’s a renewable-energy mandate, as well as an amendment to the land use, forestry, and agricultural regulations (requiring, among many other things, planting three billion trees by 2030).
The most of this will not happen anytime soon, or in this manner. Before Fit for 55 was even published, industry organizations began tearing it apart. They’ll make certain to inform the national governments who must adopt this legislative Hydra of all the ways in which this package would harm job growth. They have a point, particularly for sectors like aviation, which have already been severely harmed by the epidemic. As governments try to control pandemic expenditure and debt, they will be terrified of the consequences.
So why make such a ridiculous suggestion? Don’t underestimate how much EU bureaucrats—and Europe’s national leaders—believe in the goal of reducing carbon emissions. This is particularly true in Germany, where, despite rising expenses, people and politicians continue to worship to the climate gods.
However, don’t dismiss more cynical theories. A new US administration, which likewise wants to speak about its climate goodness, serves as the background to all of this. Brussels may hope that by trumpeting its own climate goals, it will persuade President Biden to impose penalties on the US economy that are comparable to those that currently hamstring European businesses. Fit for 55 also contains a suggestion for a carbon levy as a diplomatic stick if that doesn’t work.
Expect more of the same in the run-up to Scotland’s global climate summit this fall. China introduced its own emissions-trading scheme on Wednesday, which seems to be designed more to appease US climate envoy John Kerry than to decrease China’s carbon emissions for the time being. The government of the United Kingdom has unveiled its own wacky ideas to cut transportation-related pollution.
The goal is to put Washington on notice and force it to act. This is a trap for those who aren’t careful. Brussels’ statement demonstrates that bureaucrats are willing to speak about imposing additional climate costs, but not that they will be able to put them in place.
Emmanuel Macron welcomed Joe Biden to “the club” in Wonderland. He was referring to the European social welfare state. Image credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
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The print version of the July 15, 2021, was published.
The wall street journal review is a review of the book, Europe’s Climate Awe and Shock. In this book, author Daniel H. Pink argues that climate change will be a major global issue in the future.
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