Ben Dolbear reviews the progressive decision by various European capitals to lobby the European Union in placing the Green New Deal at the heart of the bloc's coronavirus recovery plan.
Photo by Markus Spiske
Environment ministers from France and Germany have joined growing calls in Europe for a fast-track prioritisation of the EU's popular and ambitious Green New Deal.
The ministers co-signed an opinion piece, published in Climate Home News, in which they write that a much-needed economic recovery after the continent sees off the worst of the coronavirus pandemic must not come at the cost of a long term plan for the climate, which is undergoing unprecedented strain due to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, coupled with deforestation and mass agricultural farming of meat.
Seventeen national officials signed the article, including Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities of Denmark, and Eric Wiebes, Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy of the Netherlands.
The political leaders, well-known across the continent for lobbying in favour of greater climate protections across the bloc of 27 nations, argue that building momentum to fight the 'persisting climate and ecological crisis' must stay high on the political agenda, in an apparent nod to climate advocates such as Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion, who have succeeded in introducing the pressing nature of the climate crisis to the public consciousness over the past few years.
Citing the rapid response by governments across the globe to COVID-19, which saw entire economies closing down for weeks on end and citizens mandated to remain indoors in a bid to slow the spread of the virus, the ministers say that early action is always essential, including on the climate. This means that the EU must work in solidarity to fight biodiversity loss and climate change.
Late last month, the heads of state and government of EU members invited the European Commission, headed by President Ursula von der Leyen, to start working on a recovery plan from coronavirus, which integrated ideas on the 'green transition and digital transformation', a move welcomed by the signatories of the letter.
'We should withstand the temptations of short-term solutions in response to the present crisis that risk locking the EU in a fossil fuel economy for decades to come.'
The EU's Green Deal is a growth strategy which includes the pledge to achieve carbon neutrality across the continental bloc by 2050, as well as substantial funding for businesses to engage in environmental investment. According to EU climate boss Frans Timmermans, clean energy sources also have a major role to play in the revolutionary project.
Earlier in April, the European Commission launched a public consultation on its radical Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy as part of a package to pump one trillion euros into European projects making economies more sustainable for the climate's future.
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