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Climate Policy Environment 23 July, 2019 10:00 am   

The von der Leyen case demonstrates the growing importance of climate on the EU agenda

On Wednesday 17 July, the European Parliament held a debate to vote on Ursula von der Leyen’s candidacy for the position of President of the European Commission. The German politician outlined her vision and action plan. – An increasing number of measures in the EU will be taken through the assessment of their compliance with climate policy. These will concern not only the energy sector, but also transport, industry and agriculture. The significance of climate policy will therefore grow – emphasized Dr. Aleksandra Gawlikowska-Fyk, Head of the Power Project in Forum Energii, in an interview with BiznesAlert.pl.

In terms of climate and energy, Ursula von der Leyen has proposed far-reaching emission targets – a reduction of at least 50 percent by 2030. The politician has committed to present a “Green Deal for Europe” plan and to make higher commitments in EU climate law (within the first 100 days in office). She also announced plans for sustainable investment in Europe, including through a partial transformation of the European Investment Bank into a “climate bank”. The aim is to allocate EUR 1 trillion to these investments within ten years.

In an interview with BiznesAlert.pl, Aleksandra Gawlikowska-Fyk from Forum Energii, said that Ursula von der Leyen’s speech shows differences in statements made in the last few days. – She quickly understood what are the key issues in energy and climate policy, which are worth raising. Proposals for climate policy were moderate before meetings with representatives of political fractions. Discussions revealed that the debate on this topic is far more advanced than what she had proposed,” said the expert. This applies to the proposal for a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions for 2030. At present, the target is at 40%. – The set targets for RES and energy efficiency show that in practice it will be 45%. The European Parliament, already on the previous term, adopted a resolution targeting 55% reduction in emissions. In order to gain support from MEPs, von der Leyen proposed such an ambitious approach in her speech,” said Gawlikowska-Fyk.

In her opinion, the German MEP in this way listens to the voices of MEPs and their voters. The EP’s expectations were ambitious, which was reflected in Ursula von der Leyen’s exposé, who sought support. – It seems that not all the proposals are yet fully considered. Chiefly those relating to the transformation of the European Investment Bank and the EU ETS reform. It should be remembered, however, that it is true that the Commission is preparing legislative proposals, but it is the European Parliament and, in particular, the Council of the European Union that co-creates the law and often significantly modifies the Commission’s original proposals. – The new “Green Deal for Europe” is, in my opinion, only an idea, which outline will also depend on the new Commissioner for Climate and his role in the College of Commissioners,” she said.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to finance investments in fossil fuels from various EU funds. Gas is also becoming more and more vulnerable to cuts in financial support. Gawlikowska-Fyk stressed that we forget in the discussion that gas is also an emission fuel, which share is high not only on Western European markets but also in Hungary and the Czech Republic. New investments are no longer needed there. – The share of gas in the Polish energy mix is lower and new investments are still needed. This means that Poland will have to undertake an individual approach to financing, which may be difficult, but ultimately achievable – she said. – An increasing number of measures in the EU will be taken through the assessment of their compliance with climate policy. They will no longer only concern the power sector, but also transport, industry and agriculture. The importance of climate policy will grow – emphasized Gawlikowska-Fyk.



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