EU Green Deal: Activity froze during lockdowns but the planet continued to get dangerously hotter

While much of the world’s activity froze during lockdowns and shutdowns, the planet continued to get dangerously hotter.

We see it all around us: from homes evacuated due to glacier collapse on the Mont Blanc, to fires burning through Oregon, to crops destroyed in Romania by the most severe drought in decades.

But we also saw nature come back into our lives.

We longed for green spaces and cleaner air for our mental health and our physical wellbeing.

We know change is needed – and we also know it is possible.

The European Green Deal is our blueprint to make that transformation.

At the heart of it is our mission to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

But we will not get there with the status quo – we need to go faster and do things better.

We looked in-depth at every sector to see how fast we could go and how to do it in a responsible, evidence-based way.

We held a wide public consultation and conducted an extensive impact assessment.

On this basis, the European Commission is proposing to increase the 2030 target for emission reduction to at least 55%.

I recognise that this increase from 40 to 55 is too much for some, and not enough for others.

But our impact assessment clearly shows that our economy and industry can manage this

And they want it too. Just yesterday, 170 business leaders and investors – from SME’s to some of the world’s biggest companies – wrote to me calling on Europe to set a target of at least 55%.

Our impact assessment clearly shows that meeting this target would put the EU firmly on track for climate neutrality by 2050 and for meeting our Paris Agreement obligations.

And if others follow our lead, the world will be able to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

I am fully aware that many of our partners are far away from that – and I will come back to the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism later.

But for us, the 2030 target is ambitious, achievable, and beneficial for Europe.

We can do it.We have already shown we can do it.

While emissions dropped 25% since 1990, our economy grew by more than 60%.

The difference is we now have more technology, more expertise and more investment. And we are already embarking towards a circular economy with carbon neutral production.

We have more young people pushing for change. We have more proof that what is good for the climate is good for business and is good for us all.

And we have a solemn promise to leave no one behind in this transformation. With our Just Transition Fund we will support the regions that have a bigger and more costly change to make.

We have it all. Now it’s our responsibility to implement it all and make it happen.