Economy as the key to climate protection?

The EU Commission's new climate strategy aims to make the EU 'climate neutral' by 2050, mainly by replacing oil, coal and gas with eco-friendly energy sources. In the run-up to the climate summit in Katowice some media are pushing for the EU and its member states to go even further, while others pin their hopes on future generations.

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Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Climate policy must be global

Independent national initiatives have no place in climate policy, energy expert Wojciech Jakóbik writes in Rzeczpospolita:

“Even if the Paris Agreement is fully implemented the world will heat up by 3.3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. So we need global leadership to create new instruments and commitments to combat climate change. ... The summit in Katowice offers an opportunity to discuss this. ... Who will win the climate debate: the multilateralists or the anti-globalists?”

euractiv.fr (FR) /

A topic for the European elections campaign

The EU's economic policy must focus more on climate protection, economists Michael Vincent and Ollivier Bodin demand on web platform euractiv:

“[The current budget rules] offer a certain amount of leeway to subtract certain investments before comparing the deficit with the rules. This leeway should be reviewed in terms of promoting investments and spending that demonstrably make the economy greener. The procedures for coordinating the economic policies of member states that were introduced after the financial crisis no longer take adequate account of the urgent need to fight climate change. These procedures need to be revised as quickly as possible. Before we debate the technical details we need a political debate in the context of the European elections campaign.”

Libération (FR) /

Not having children would be capitulation

Members of the growing gink (green inclinations, no kids) movement want to save the climate by convincing people not to have children. Libération urges readers to adopt a more optimistic outlook:

“According to this view humans harm the environment merely by consuming and generating CO2 emissions, so the future is necessarily apocalyptic. A very dark view of humanity. ... But it's possible to turn the situation around and nurture hopes that future generations will know more about the challenges facing the environment and the economy, and that, better informed about the opportunities and risks of technological progress, they will go about repairing what we are now putting at risk. Such a view is not based on naive optimism but on rock-solid confidence in humanity's ability to renew itself.”

De Morgen (BE) /

Budget discipline no good here

According to the UN climate experts the world will have to triple its efforts if it wants to stop climate change. These apocalyptic warnings no longer work, De Morgen argues:

“Emotional commitment and moral castigation of our behaviour have proven to be insufficient and even counterproductive. Instead we should focus on the rational decision to put our trust in science and technological innovation. ... The economist Paul De Grauwe quite rightly pointed out that the European Commission, which has set the goal of making the continent climate neutral by 2050, is the same body that punishes every major public investment like an accountant. We must choose: either we stick to the budget rules of the EU, OECD and IMF or we spend to save the climate. It shouldn't take that long to decide.”

Die Presse (AT) /

The worst affected live elsewhere

Talking about climate change in terms of its economic consequences has advantages but also one major drawback, Die Presse explains:

“This [economic] debate is good because it puts a finger in the wound of inefficient planned-economy-type energy transformations and shows the way toward solutions that take account of economic realities: a CO2 tax that replaces other taxes. But it's also dangerous because in fact we can afford the economic consequences of our climate sins - if we take 'we' to mean the rich inhabitants of the industrial states. The true victims of climate change are sitting in the savannas and slums of Africa. Does that get us back to moral questions once again?”

Expressen (SE) /

The poor can't shoulder the whole burden

Commenting on the 'yellow vest' protests in France Expressen asks what a sustainable climate policy would look like:

“The European Commission presented a plan with a global warming target of 1.5 degrees centigrade. According to this strategy the world would be climate neutral by 2050. The goals are ambitious and more long-term than the current ones (with 2030 as the deadline), and the proposed measures are more concrete. It could actually work. But many political leaders would have to risk becoming as unpopular as Macron. The European Commission's measures entail major sacrifices. At the same time we must acknowledge that climate protection measures that only affect the working class are not sustainable. Many more shop windows will be broken if the rich and poor don't start sharing the burden of the climate crisis soon.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Poland making a fool of itself

Gazeta Wyborcza complains about the way Poland is portraying itself ahead of the climate summit:

“It's wonderful in Poland. Poland is an oasis of normality and clean air, with green fields, lush forests, wind parks and electric cars. At least that's what the ad in the run-up to the UN climate summit on 3 December claims. ... It's a joke. The only true sentence it contains is: 'This is our home, but we could lose it if we don't take care of it.' It's a good thing that the government is at least aware of this. It's a pity its not really doing anything to take care of that home.”