Climate change: ambitious new global policies?

April 22 is Earth Day. This year, several of the world's political heavyweights are making ambitious announcements. The EU wants to cut CO2 emissions by 55 percent instead of 40 percent compared to 1990 by 2030, and US President Joe Biden is hosting a climate summit with 40 heads of state and government to follow up on global emissions targets. In the view of Europe's press, however, far more must be done.

Open/close all quotes
Milliyet (TR) /

Only together can we tackle this problem

The announcement by the US and China that they want to cooperate to combat climate change is a milestone, Milliyet writes in delight:

“Since Joe Biden's election as the new US president, not only the White House has turned green, but China immediately jumped on the bandwagon. ... More importantly, the two countries are now acting together. Because what countries can do alone to fight the climate crisis is very limited. This fight only makes sense if it is global and all-encompassing. ... In short, believe it or not, things are changing radically. Environmental policies are starting to dominate the world.”

Irish Examiner (IE) /

More dangerous than the pandemic

The fight against climate change should be fought with the same commitment as that against Covid, the Irish Examiner urges:

“If we look at our response to the pandemic as a microcosm for a response to climate collapse, we can learn a lot. We responded quickly and decisively, but the scale of climate change is beyond our comprehension and so we are still stuck here in the pre-mask and lockdown phase. More than three million people have died because of Covid-19, but many, many more lives are at stake because of climate collapse. We must respond appropriately to these numbers and the large but unevenly distributed dangers. After all, there is no vaccine against climate collapse.”

De Standaard (BE) /

Courage for concrete measures, please!

Fine words and ambitious targets are not enough, De Standaard grumbles:

“If the world leaders were serious about climate protection, they could agree to work together for a global CO2 tax. Preferably combined with a CO2 border tax for those who don't want to join in. ... But apart from the EU no one wants this. Both Xi Jinping and Biden's climate pope John Kerry spoke out against it. Nevertheless, if the big three were to reach an agreement, the rest of the world would have to follow. You don't need a two-day climate summit for such an agreement. Five minutes of political courage would suffice.”

Público (PT) /

Social responsibility should not be forgotten

Pedro Marques, MEP for the Portuguese Socialist Party, warns in Público:

“It is important to recognise that this climate change will bring demanding changes that will have a brutal impact on people's lives. ... For example in Portugal, the closure of the thermal power plant in Sines enables us to understand what is at stake here. If this transition is not fair, there is a serious risk that it will not happen, as is the case with the yellow vests in France. This is why we need to support less well-off families, create solid social responses in affected areas and promote new investments and jobs. Green jobs should become the rule.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Back to the old normality

In February the Netherlands began conducting field tests to find ways for people to gather despite the pandemic. The fact that these "fieldlab events" also include holiday trips to Rhodes and Gran Canaria isn't exactly encouraging, writes Floor Rusman in her column with NRC Handelsblad:

“The old normality, when holidays always meant flying to the sun. Meanwhile, the Netherlands itself is becoming a sunshine destination as global warming continues. ... The state has missed the chance to make a statement. It could have said: the first Fieldlab holiday will take participants to the Eifel [mountain range in western Germany] in an electric bus - also a super holiday destination! But the state doesn't want us to fly less. If it did, it would have invested in something other than an airline.”