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On Wednesday, the EU Commission announced that is has adopted a long-term plan that will help create a climate neutral economy by 2050.
The plan outlines how European countries can take a lead in climate neutrality by investing in new technology and aligning industrial policy, finance and research to make the transition away from a carbon-based economy a reality.
‘We cannot safely live on a planet with the climate that is out of control,’ Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič said. ‘But that does not mean that to reduce emissions, we should sacrifice the livelihoods of Europeans.
‘Over the last years, we have shown how to reduce emissions, while creating prosperity, high-quality local jobs, and improving people’s quality of life. Europe will inevitably continue to transform.
‘Our strategy now shows that by 2050, it is realistic to make Europe both climate neutral and prosperous, while leaving no European and no region behind,’ he added.
Creating a carbon neutral economy
The new long-term plan offers a range of options for EU member states, European businesses and citizens that will help to modernise Europe’s economy and improve the lives of Europeans.
The strategy also seeks to ensure that this transition is socially fair and enhances the competitiveness of EU economy and industry on global markets, securing high quality jobs and sustainable growth in Europe, while also helping address other environmental challenges, such as air quality or biodiversity loss, the EU Commission said.
‘The EU has already started the modernisation and transformation towards a climate neutral economy,’ Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete said. We are stepping up our efforts as we propose a strategy for Europe to become the world's first major economy to go climate neutral by 2050.’
‘Going climate neutral is necessary, possible and in Europe's interest.’
The plan is also key to meeting the long-term temperature goals laid out in the Paris Agreement, with the EU keen to curtail spending on fossil fuel imports and instead invest in renewable energy.
Internationally, over the coming year the EU should expand its cooperation closely with its international partners, so that all parties to the Paris Agreement develop and submit a long-term national mid-century strategy by 2020 in the light of the recent IPCC Special report on 1.5 Celsius.