Amid the cost of living crisis, multiple elections and a growing political “greenlash”, a new report has warned that the EU faces a “make or break moment” for decarbonisation if it is to stick to the European Green Deal.
In a research published on Thursday, the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) said that European policymakers must convince voters that sticking to the green transition is in their interests – especially with European parliament elections and several national elections coming next year.
According to reports, the latest findings come after a week that saw several green setbacks in Europe. Governments in Sweden and Britain have faced heavy criticism for backtracking on green pledges, and on Tuesday Ursula von der Leyen, the EU Commission president, welcomed a deal by EU governments to water down rules on vehicle emissions.
“Europe is facing a make-or-break moment in terms of whether it is willing to pay the costs – both financial and political – of moving forward with the next phase of decarbonisation at the speed and according to the model it has set out in the European green deal,” according to authors, Susi Dennison and Mats Engström.
To make the case for decarbonisation, the report recommends that policymakers should focus on energy sovereignty and how the green industrial transformation can help make their countries more economically competitive. It also suggests focusing on how EU financial support can contribute to a fair transition, along with the risks of the climate crisis.
“The EU stands to benefit from being a global green leader, but it needs to rapidly adapt its policy instruments to the changed geopolitical circumstances,” the report also stated.
While public support for action on the climate remains high across the continent, uncertainty about energy prices and supply means it is increasingly facing cost and competitiveness challenges and just before the European parliament elections in June, Poland, Slovakia, the Netherlands and Austria have elections, as well as potentially Croatia and Romania.
Meanwhile, the report warns that Italy, Sweden, Finland and Greece all have governments that include or depend on forces that “explicitly prioritise national interests and are more wary of what they perceive as an internationalist agenda”.
Story was adapted from the Guardian.