Updated: Jul 22
The European Union has announced dozens of draft proposals aimed at pushing towards its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The proposals, which was announced on Wednesday, still need to be approved by the bloc of 27 member states. They also include plans to tax jet fuel and effectively ban the sale of petrol and diesel powered cars in 20 years. Seems like a very tall order to complete. And it is.
Some of the key proposals include:
Tighter emission limits for cars, which are expected to effectively end new petrol and diesel vehicle sales by 2035
A tax on aviation fuel, and a 10-year tax holiday for low-carbon alternatives
A so-called carbon border tariff, which would require manufacturers from outside the EU to pay more for importing materials like steel and concrete
More ambitious targets for expanding renewable energy around the bloc
A requirement for countries to more quickly renovate buildings that are not deemed energy efficient
This has been met with vehement opposition from parties of both sides. Corporate lobbyist has denounced the plan saying "risks destabilizing the investment outlook" for sectors such as steel, cement, aluminium, fertilizers and electric power "enormously".
The head of IATA (International Air Transport Association) said: "Aviation is committed to decarbonisation as a global industry. We don't need persuading, or punitive measures like taxes to motivate change."
At the same time environmentalists have claimed that these measures don't go far enough. "Celebrating these policies is like a high-jumper claiming a medal for running under the bar," Greenpeace EU director Jorgo Riss said in a statement.
"This whole package is based on a target that is too low, doesn't stand up to science, and won't stop the destruction of our planet's life-support systems."
Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg said that unless the EU "tears up" its proposals, "the world will not stand a chance of staying below 1.5C of global heating".
So, is the EU's plan 'Fit for 55' really bad or is it good just for the Union? That is the question isn't it. Well, the EEB (European Environmental Bureau) has published in a report that 'the most relevant EU green policy dossier of the year not only fails to provide climate-neutral roadmaps and sector-specific targets, but also continues to shield EU industry from paying the full cost of pollution'. The European Commission is missing another historic opportunity to phase out fossil fuels in the ‘Fit for 55’ package, leaving the door open for coal, gas and oil to stay in the EU energy system for at least another two decades while sending the “polluter pays” bill to EU citizens.
Green groups have already slammed the mammoth package of 12 legislative proposals for delaying action, after the commission faced intense lobbying over recent months.
It is safe to say that none of these so-called "proposals" are coming in anytime soon. The EU itself is lackadaisical about it, and what more can be said about the rest of the member states. This would be the perfect time to say 'too little, too late'. But, since it's concerning our future, we sincerely hope the governmental bodies can take appropriate measures to save what is left of our planet.