On 11th of December 2019, the European Commission (EC), the European Union’s executive arm, passed the European Green Deal, Europe’s plan for dealing with climate change while creating new jobs. EC President, Ursula von der Leyen, described it as a new strategy “for a growth that gives back more than it takes away.” The EU’s plan will cover all the major sectors of the European economy, contributing to economic development while moving to a more environmentally sustainable model. Based on the European Climate Law and several recent Green Deal initiatives, the most striking aspect of this plan is Europe’s ambition to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
The Union already has a strong record in combating climate change. While Europe’s GDP grew by more than 61 percent from 1990 to 2018, the EU managed to reduce emissions by 23%. However, with the implementation of the European Green Deal, they are striving to do more. It will make Europe a climate leader while creating jobs and economic opportunities. Through investment-backed programs addressing agriculture, energy, transportation, consumer products, and land conservation, the Green Deal will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste. This plan has a large amount of support among the public; over 95 percent of Europeans believe that protecting the environment is important. More than three quarters say that the protection of the environment will lead to economic growth. The adoption of the European Green Deal came just five weeks after the US officially left the Paris Agreement on climate change and will make EU member states the only countries complying with the guidelines of the Paris Agreement.