OPINIONS Climate still a big concern for EU states


Climate still a big concern for EU states

By CHEN YINGQUN | China Daily

09:37, November 17, 2020

(Photo: IC)

Tackling climate change has been the main concern of the European Union and is critical to its economic transformation and the realization of sustainable development in the continent, a Chinese Academy of Social Sciences report says.

The European Development Report (2019-20) was co-published by the Institute of European Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Chinese Association For European Studies and the Social Sciences Academic Press (China) on Saturday.

It said that the EU's Green Deal, which aims to make the bloc the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, has required that the European Commission put green development as its main target by transforming Europe's economic development model and pushing forward sustainable development.

The European Commission needs to raise the targets for tackling climate change, formulate and implement climate policies that are comprehensively upgraded, push forward investment programs for sustainable development and provide financial support for climate change issues, said Kong Yuan, an assistant research fellow of the Institute of European Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

As the EU wants to be climate-neutral by 2050, the commission will have to formulate laws and regulations to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, Kong said.

Reduction target

The report said that from 1990 to 2018, the EU's greenhouse gas emissions had fallen by about 23 percent and its economy grew 61 percent. If it stays this way, it could only realize 60 percent of the reduction target of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

"The process should be accelerated if the EU wants to realize the targets set by the Green Deal," Kong said.

A lot of policy tools in tackling climate change issues would also need to be revised or formulated when necessary by the European Commission, such as the revision of the energy taxation directive.

Digital transformation will likewise be helpful in boosting green recovery for Europe after the COVID-19 pandemic, Kong said.

Zheng Chunrong, head of the Germany Research Institute at Tongji University in Shanghai, said that the EU's Green Deal is not only about technical issues since it was put forward under the backdrop the whole world faces on climate change issues and the fact young Europeans are very concerned about those issues.

"The EU wants to make use of the new deal to boost European integration and European economies, and also has geopolitical considerations concerning the deal," he said.

Tian Dewen, deputy director of the Institute of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China and Europe, which have both supported the global climate governance system, have great potential in working together to reduce carbon emissions and boost green recovery from the pandemic.

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