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12.12.2019 Europe

EU's 'green deal' seeks to win over coal-dependent states

LISTEN DEC 12, 2019

The European Commission on Wednesday unveiled its hallmark trillion-euro climate strategy designed to make the EU carbon neutral by the middle of the century.

President Ursula von der Leyen's first major proposal since taking office on 1 December would, if approved, enshrine climate-friendly economic policies into law for the world's third-biggest polluter.

“Our goal is to reconcile the economy with our planet,” von der Leyen said in a brief press statement. “The old growth model based on fossil fuels is out of date and out of touch with our planet.”

Her proposal – which is likely to run into resistance from coal-dependent Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic – would force many EU nations to make radical economic shifts.

Despite promises that “nobody will be left behind” by the EU's just transition to renewables, which includes the creation of a transition fund of 100 billion euros, eastern states worry that reducing emissions to net zero by 2050 is simply not affordable.

Other measures include a Sustainable Europe Investment Plan that will support trillions of euros of private climate-related investments into the EU, and a carbon border tax to be imposed on imported goods.

The climate crisis is to be discussed at an EU summit that starts on Thursday.

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