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Climate summit: Europe shames China and US

eAfter five o’clock on Wednesday morning, the negotiators finally reached an agreement. Then there was the EU route map for climate protection for decades to come. Representatives of the European Parliament and national capitals held talks the night before. This was the last of several meetings held over the past few months. Already at the beginning of the marathon meeting, those involved whispered that a deal would be guaranteed. Because the EU has no small choice.

US President Joe Biden, who Climate protection is a priority for his presidency Wants to do, put pressure on Europe from the outside. He has one on Thursdays and Fridays Two-day Virtual Climate Summit About 40 heads of state and government from around the world are expected to attend. In addition to taking the pita Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Angela Merkel (CDU) and EU Commission President Ursula van der Leyen.

Climate policy in Europe as a model

Named the “Earth Day Summit” by the Biden government, the summit will feature some of the most important actors in international climate protection at the UN General Assembly in Glasgow in November. The Climate Summit aims to ensure the adoption of ambitious goals before meeting COP26. The fact that Biden will put his stamp on a COP26 deal through the opening summit is certainly a positive side effect in the White House’s view.

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It would have been embarrassing for the EU to appear at this preparatory summit without acknowledging a blueprint for climate protection within the EU. The agreement reached in the early hours of the morning saved the Europeans from it. In fact, it is the European Union that can set the tone for negotiations above all else because it currently pursues the most ambitious goals of the major economic camps.

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Over the past few months, Europe’s climate policy has already provoked adherents around the world: the agreement by EU governments in December 2019 to become the world’s first large-scale climate-neutral economy by 2050 caused a stir. Other economies in Europe have followed suit: Japan, for example, South Korea and even the developing country South Africa.

Climate neutrality becomes law

With representatives of member states and EU organizations approving the climate law early Wednesday, the goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2050 will actually be transformed into law.

This is a report with a signal effect. The biggest controversy before and after the talks, however, is the question of how quickly European consumers and companies can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years.

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In his draft bill on climate law, Franz Timmermans, deputy chairman of the Commission on Climate Change, called for a 55 percent reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. So far, EU members have committed themselves to a 40 per cent cut. Member states had also subscribed to this goal; However, the European Parliament called for a 60 percent reduction.

In overnight negotiations, all three parties now agreed 55 percent later. With the neutral target for 2050, the European Union has set the highest rank for other countries before Earth Day. “The European Union has put forward its strong decision. Above all, the United States and China, it is important now that other major economies raise their climate goals with commitment,” Federal Environment Minister Svenza Schulz (SPD) said in the morning after the deal.

In fact, the austerity measures of the US government and the Chinese leadership are far behind European aspirations. “The deal is historically significant,” says Peter Lees, for example. The CDU politician represents the Christian Democratic EPP group in the European Parliament’s Environment Committee. “With this climate protection law we are definitely more ambitious than the United States.”

China and the United States with low ambition

Climate protection is important for the Biden government Reduction goalsThey are currently being discussed there, however, which seems more ambitious than they are. The United States wants to be climate neutral by 2050, after the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter. It is not yet clear how the country will get there.

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John Kerry (left) was greeted in Brussels by Ursula van der Leyen and Franz Timmermans.  In the interview, Timmermans and Kerry talk about good relations between the United States and the European Union.

The goal so far is to emit only at least 25 percent less greenhouse gases in 2025 than in 2005. It is also under discussion that it should be less than 50 percent by 2030 – but again based on the 2005 scale. Compared to 1990, the International Year of Climate Protection takes the year and the EU as its benchmark, with only 43 percent.

Chinese aspirations are also pale compared to European aspirations. China now emits individual greenhouse gases just like the European Union.

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Total Fatigue: Many Chinese companies expect to work 60 hours or more per week

China has also promised to act in a carbon-neutral manner in the future, but only in 2060, ten years after Europe. In addition, it is not yet clear how the country wants to achieve the reduction. Greenhouse gas emissions are still rising and should not fall until 2030.

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The Politics of Europe – A Computer Trick?

However, critics of the EU agreement at night warn that Europe’s climate goals are far more ambitious than they actually are. “To take a selfie with US President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the international stage, a climate law was introduced today that will play a pioneering role in climate protection and the future economy,” says Michael Plasse, who sits on the Environment Committee for the Greens European Parliament.

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Björn Lomborg

Billions in costs for energy conversion

Environmental groups such as the Climate Action Network (CAN) are annoyed by the agreement to reduce 55 percent by 2050 – but not the net. This means that in 30 years, greenhouse gases may still be produced in Europe. But despite all efforts to reduce emissions, they have increased forest, moor or grassland CO2 Bail, be balanced. Experts talk about carbon sinking.

Environmentalists see this as a computing ploy, and now approved programs confirm that emissions should actually fall below 53 percent. The remaining 2.2 percentage points to reach the 55 percent target will only come from the extra carbon sink.