The European Union intends to become climate neutral by 2050, which would make it the first major economy in the world to do so. Under this new plan, the European Union will offset any greenhouse gases emitted by planting new trees or burying gases.
Ever since the Paris Agreement has been signed, countries that have joined the agreement have been working to lower greenhouse gas emissions. A climate neutral EU is a big step in the right direction and hopefully, it leads to other major economies following suit.
What Exactly is Climate Neutral
A climate neutral country is a country where the emissions released are countered by the methods they are removed. Essentially everything they emit will be removed by various methods.
For example, all of the greenhouse gases produced by vehicles, industries, and power plants will be taken out of the atmosphere by various methods. These may include planting new trees, capturing the emissions and burying them underground, and more.
It is important to realize that climate neutral does not mean that there are zero emissions, it simply means the emissions are accounted for and removed before they can do serious damage.
How Can Europe Become Climate Neutral
The big question is how will it happen? The EU has released ideas to its members on this very issue. The big news is that the EU believes it can be done with current technology.
The biggest highlights involve increasing energy production on clean renewable energy resources like solar and wind, while reducing the reliance on fossil fuels, like coal, that emits carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
One of the biggest uses of energy is for regulating the temperature of houses. The plan also aims at increasing the efficiency of insulation to significantly reduce the amount of energy used.
This plan will not only help meet the goals of the Paris agreement, but it will actually result in a GDP increase for the EU and saving trillions on importing energy by 2050.
Why the Sudden Urgency
While countries have made promises in the past about fighting climate change, the steps taken are never enough. The recent Emissions Gap Report 2018 was a large wake-up call to the world. It showed just how big the gap was from reaching the century goal of reducing global warming by 1.5C.
Sadly, what was highlighted in the report was the lack of progress being made by very rich countries like the United States, Canada, South Korea, and many others that are not in line with the goal. This news also comes out right before the major global climate talks in Poland, where over 200 countries will gather to discuss climate change.
How Are European Countries Responding
It is important to remember that the EU is made up of 28 countries and the push to combat climate change affects each one differently. Plenty of countries are very enthusiastic about become net-zero by 2050. 10 different countries have actually moved forward and demanded a clear outline of how exactly they should begin in this direction.
Of course, not everyone is embracing this. Countries like Poland rely heavily on coal for energy. Stricter regulations on fossil fuels can be a disaster for the country.
Regardless of the response, experts all agree that even this ambitious plan is too little too late and other major economies need to immediately step up.
The most important part of this announcement is the “plan” part. As you can imagine there needs to be a good amount of debate between the 28 countries that make up the European Union. Countries need to protect their economic interests and battling climate change can hurt certain countries far worse than others.
However, the longer we wait to fight climate change, the sooner we will be unable too.