• European Green Deal announced by the European Commission suggests roadmap and expected timelines to be become the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050
  • The draft deal recommends GHG emissions reduction target for Europe to be increased to between 50% to 55% compared to 1990 levels by 2030
  • Relevant energy legislation will be reviewed and revised where necessary by June 2021 following which member states will update their national and climate plans in 2023
  • Green Financing Strategy will be launched in 2020 to mobilize private sector investment for green transition and under Just Transition Mechanism, the commission has proposed facilitating €100 billion ($111 billion) investment for regions most vulnerable to the transition

In a bid to become the world’s first climate neutral continent by the year 2050, the European Commission (EC) has unveiled its European Green Deal that provides a roadmap with 50 actions for the region to move towards becoming a ‘clean, circular economy and stop climate change’.This is a draft version and the final will be announced at COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland in 2020.

Among the major points suggested by the EC for the EU to transform its economy for a sustainable future is to increase its climate ambition for 2030 and 2050 and supplying clean, affordable and secure energy. Immediate steps will be taken to increase Europe’s 2030 emissions targets setting a ‘realistic path’ to the 2050 goal. It has recommended revising current GHG reduction target for Europe to be increased to between 50% to 55% compared to 1990 levels by 2030 as against the current policies that will only push the continent for 40% reduction by 2050.

While the draft doesn’t spell out the proposed clean energy targets, the commission said member states will present their revised national energy and climate plans (NECPs) by the end of 2019, following which relevant energy legislation will be reviewed and where necessary will be revised by June 2021 post which member states will have to update their NECPs in 2023 to reflect the new climate ambition.

Achieving the current 2030 climate and energy targets is estimated to require €260 billion ($289 billion) of additional annual investment, but the commission argues at least 25% of the EU’s long-term budget should be dedicated to climate action with the European Investment Bank (EIB) providing further support. The EC will also present a Green Financing Strategy in 2020 to mobilize private sector investment for green transition.

Under the suggested Just Transition Mechanism, the endeavour will be to support regions vulnerable to transition from a carbon intensive economy to a sustainable and clean powered one by facilitating €100 billion ($111 billion) investment here. To involve the citizens in this process, in March 2020, the EC said it will launch a Climate Pact.

Right from transport, energy, agriculture, buildings and industries as steel, cement, ICT, textiles and chemicals, the deal covers all sectors of the economy, it said.

By March 2020 the EC will come up with a European Climate Law to set into legislation the political ambition of being the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050.

The EC’s new president Ursula von der Leyen called the European Green Deal the ‘new growth strategy’ and Europe’s ‘man on the moon’ moment while presenting it in Brussels.

Suggested roadmap and timelines of the initiatives to be presented by the EC can be viewed online on its website.

Even though the draft presented does not mention solar PV at all, SolarPower Europe’s (SPE) CEO Walburga Hemetsberger said, “As the lowest-cost and most easily deployed clean energy technology, solar is primed to help deliver the European Green Deal.”

SPE’s first report to focus solely on the progress of solar PV technology in EU states released recently sees tremendous growth for solar in the early 2020s as it claims 104% improvement in annual installations for 2019 at 16.7 GW (see EU PV Demand Up 104% In 2019).