Outlined by the European Commission, the European Green Deal is the framework aimed at making the EU carbon neutral by 2050. The transition revolves around green technologies, circular economy, economic growth, and social wellbeing.
Introduced by von der Leyen in her political agenda for the Presidency of the European Commission, the EU Green Deal is presented as the answer to climate change challenges. It is an holistic approach comprising sectoral policies which aim at reshaping all aspects of life in a bid to preserve the planet. The transition requires both a policy framework and significant investments. Thus, the European Climate Law proposed by the Commission would make Members' engagement into a legally binding obligation. In addition, public and private investments will be addressed to research and development (R&D), which are needed to boost the economy and have been under-performing in the EU compared to emerging economies.
In the global context, the EU has been a pioneer in environmental policies. However, by itself it is not able to curb the upward trend of global emissions and needs to involve other parties. Recently, potential paths of cooperation have opened with two of the most prominent EU allies – China and the USA. Indeed, China recently pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 and, President-elect Biden expressed his intention to return to the Paris Agreement and to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
The shift from pledges to effective policy implementation is not an implicit one and the question is whether the EU is capable of delivering results and driving global cooperation while struggling with decade-long internal issues. Failing to live up to the expectations, the old continent would become a decadent one and, instead of being one of the driving forces of a new green global governance, it would lose its position of relevance in international debates.