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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Exorbitant energy prices put Europe’s climate plans to the test

The record rise in energy prices could not have come at a worse time for Europe’s ambitious new climate plan, as politicians are just beginning to talk about how to implement the world’s most comprehensive emissions-reduction strategy.

The energy crisis threatens to send double-digit increases in consumer electricity bills months ahead of the winter cold and is putting pressure on industry giants. As European governments scrambled to mitigate the impact on consumers, Greece, for example, promised support for energy bills, while threats of blackouts in the UK last week were a vivid reminder of the fragility of energy supplies.

for the European Union, which proposes banning new fossil-fuel cars by 2035, and imposing new costs on dirty home heating; The high costs of such an ambitious plan will make it difficult to persuade voters, who are already struggling with high utility bills.

“Of course, the current level of energy prices has the potential to make discussions about the climate package more complex,” said Peter Weiss, senior adviser at Rud Pedersen Public Affairs and former political assistant to the EU’s first climate commissioner. Weakening the package due to today’s energy crisis would detract from the long-term solution to reducing Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels without addressing the cause of the pressure on gas supplies.”

Natural gas and energy prices have risen to all-time highs in the 27-nation region, as the economies of the European bloc recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. The increase in demand comes amid limited gas imports from Norway and Russia, with some countries accusing Moscow of manipulating supplies. At the same time, the EU’s strategy to accelerate emissions reductions in every sector from transport to manufacturing and agriculture has boosted demand for carbon permits, with prices more than doubling over the past two years to new record levels.

The European Union wants to lead the global fight against climate change and to set an example for other major missions such as the United States and China, whose overarching goal of the Green Deal strategy is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The green package unveiled in July aims to align the economy with a stricter 2030 target of reducing emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels. The laws need approval by the European Parliament and member states of the Council of the European Union, with the right to Each institution is in the process of adjusting the plan, a process likely to take about two years.

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