Six things to look out for in the European Green Deal

Set to be published within 100 days of the new Commission taking office, here are some of the things we’ll be looking out for in the European Green Deal.

Safe climate

The EU will need to set stronger targets for cutting greenhouse gases, improving energy efficiency and boosting renewable energy.

Current and required targets for EU climate action

Green finance and making polluters pay will also be essential. Fossil fuel projects will have to be excluded from a ‘Paris-compatible’ EU Budget and money saved used to fund a just transition to clean alternatives.

Carbon taxes, including a carbon border tax will help slash emissions while protecting jobs.

People power

International law guarantees EU citizens the rights of access to information, public participation and access to justice on environmental issues.

The EU must properly implement the Aarhus Convention to ensure the public can play a meaningful role in decisions that affect our environment and hold governments to account for their actions.

An amendment to the Aarhus Regulation and a Directive on Access to Justice are required to ensure citizens’ groups can challenge decisions before national and EU courts.

Good food

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) must be transformed into a Good Food Policy, which considers and cares for the way food production impacts our environment ‘from farm to fork’.

Good food is nutritious and sustainable, so EU money should support farmers to transition to nature-friendly and climate-neutral practices and create much-needed jobs in rural communities. Intensive meat and dairy production will have to be addressed.

Thriving nature

The European Green Deal will need to end biodiversity loss with a new strategy and legally binding targets including the restoration of 660,000km2 of degraded habitats by 2030.

€15bn of conservation funding should be made available from the CAP every year and a global deal for nature should aim for zero extinction and zero loss of natural spaces.

Healthy lives

The European Green Deal will include a zero-pollution strategy, but this must be made a reality.

To cut harmful pollution, air quality standards should rise to match WHO guidelines, industrial pollution rules will need to be tightened and existing EU laws like the REACH regulation on chemicals and the Water Framework Directive must be properly enforced.

A fair and circular economy

A European Green Deal should include a vision for an economy that serves human wellbeing and a healthy environment.

The EU’s Stability and Growth Pact should be replaced with a Sustainability and Wellbeing Pact and a new set of priorities and indicators should be used, moving beyond the narrow scope of GDP growth.

Strict targets should be set to reduce virgin resource use, with staged reduction objectives up to 2030. The EU’s existing circular economy action plan should be extended to include textiles, furniture, construction and batteries.

Trade agreements should be reassessed, removing investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms that favour corporate over public interests, and the EU should back a legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and human rights.

Want to know more?

The EEB has published a detailed list of priorities for the European Green Deal and 8th Environmental Action Programme.