Thursday, July 29

Fit for 2050

Europe and its member countries must prepare to run the toughest and most difficult race in their history. We as a continent, as a European Community and as a species face the challenge of our time: the climate crisis. The heat waves that hit Spain, the floods in Germany, or the fires in Cyprus are undeniable signs that climate change and the loss of biodiversity are already here and affect us all. Although as in all races, we will not achieve success if we start training a week before.

Along these lines, the European Commission has presented this week “Fit for 55 “, a broad package of legislative reforms that will affect transport, energy, taxation or international trade and with which it is intended to guarantee that the European Union reduces at least 55% of its emissions by 2030, as dictated by the Paris agreements; and achieve climate neutrality by 2050, as we have committed to before the United Nations. These reforms will serve to create intermediate steps to reach that neutrality, because without objectives in the short and medium term, without a plan with assessable indicators, or what is the same without a planned and adequate training, the transformation that we must face of here to 2050 it runs the risk of failure.

The Greens have been working for years to promote an ambitious ecological transformation for the European Union and its member countries, with proposals that are now a reality. Proposals such as stopping producing cars with a combustion engine (diesel, gasoline and gas), ensuring that 100% of the energy we consume is renewable or plans to repopulate our forests and natural spaces to protect biodiversity. Some of these ideas are already included in the plan Fit for 55, but we know that we can go further.

For example, thanks to the push of the Greens in Europe, the plan Fit for 55 it contemplates the creation of a tax for aviation, although not as ambitious as science demands. A faster implementation will be required, guaranteeing a minimum fuel price so that it affects all flights within the European Union equally and a rate that guarantees fair competition in all modes of transport. It is a measure similar to the one that we already proposed in the Congress of Deputies and thanks to which the Government of Spain has committed to carrying out a study to reduce peninsular flights.

It is also important to accelerate the energy transition. Currently, the EU has a mandatory objective of reaching 40% renewable energy by 2030. The Greens are committed to reaching 100% to reflect that a one hundred percent renewable economy is possible, although this requires binding national goals. In the case of Spain, it would be necessary to recalculate the commitments made in the recently approved Climate Change Law since it would prevent us from complying with Europe, as we warned during the processing of the law. To achieve this without posing a risk to the territory and biodiversity, a profound renovation will be necessary to guarantee self-consumption, breaking the energy oligopoly and lowering its own electricity bill.

We cannot deny, however, that the transformation that we must face will affect all sectors. It will, therefore, be essential to have their co-responsibility and collaboration for it to be successful, because it can be at the same time a great opportunity to transform our industry and be able to create green jobs that provide added value and are safe for people and the planet.

For our part, public officials must provide certainties: clear and predictable rules for the industry, so that they can decide in which sectors it is convenient to invest in order to have a decarbonized economy and a more secure future.

A good example is the automotive sector, which in Spain employs thousands of people, but which faces the debate about its transformation, arguing that putting it into operation would mean the dismissal of many workers. However, Europe is already advancing on the path of sustainable mobility, making it increasingly difficult to sell the cars that we produce in Spain. If the reforms are carried out without us having managed to promote this transformation, the closure of plants will be a reality that we cannot avoid.

However, thanks to the impulse of European funds and these reforms, Europe is in a position to face the challenge posed by the climate crisis, but we must go one step further. Because the package Fit for 55 It is not only related to climate change, but it encompasses a profound restructuring of how our society is organized, our relationship with nature and our well-being.

If we do not plan the transformation, if we do not prepare for the race, we run the risk that the effort will fall back on the most vulnerable. It is the people with the fewest resources who are already suffering the consequences of climate change, which also acts as an amplifier of other vulnerabilities. We have seen it in the last month as a result of the rise in electricity: families with lower incomes are more affected by the rise in the cost of living, they live in neighborhoods with higher levels of pollution, with more heat islands and do not have the resources needed to make energy efficiency improvements; and above all, they have more precarious jobs, which are at greater risk from any alteration in the job market. With this reconversion we have the opportunity to tackle these structural inequalities, which also involves the creation of a new tax system, which burdens the most polluting activities and serves to redistribute wealth, also restructuring the welfare state to develop new rights and benefits.

It is not that long until 2050. It is going to be a long race full of obstacles, but we are playing a lot. Let’s get running.

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