‘Green Deal’ seeks to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050

Thomas Muinzer

The European Commission launched its much-anticipated “Green Deal” on December 11. The project has been spearheaded by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, whose presidential tenure began recently on December 1 2019.

The central thrust of the Green Deal is a relentless momentum towards making the EU climate neutral by 2050. This marries up formal political-legal EU ambition with the international Paris Agreement, where average global temperature rise is to be kept well below 2℃.

This headline intention of a Green Deal is to take the form of a pioneering “European Climate Law” – one of the most innovative legal regimes ever seriously proposed in the history of environmental law, which intends to deliver the world’s first climate-neutral continent. Efforts towards this 2050 objective will be supported by the expansion of carbon emissions pricing, which already exists in a well-developed form in the EU, most notably under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. A new “carbon border adjustment mechanism” – basically a carbon border tax targeting imports from non-EU countries with less strict climate policies – will also be brought in to assist.

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