How much will it cost us to fight climate change

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The European Commission has presented a fifty-point plan to combat climate change. Not everything is detailed, but the announced steps are big. Clearly, our way of life so far will become much more expensive.


Climate protection is fashionable. Most people in the European Union, according to surveys, want more measures to reduce their emissions. Young Swedish activist Greta Tunberg led the world movement. The following steps are currently being considered at the United Nations Climate Conference in Madrid.

The new European Commission wants to be at the forefront of these changes and highlight the Green Deal as the central theme of its policy, and fight climate change.

European Commission President Ursula von der Lajen presented a package of 50 proposals to the European Parliament. “It’s kind of like landing on the moon,” she said, to give her proposal historical significance. “We have no more time to waste.”

Already in March, the EU should adopt a Climate Law that stipulates that the European Union should achieve a “climate-neutral” economy by 2050. This means that the emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases harmful to the climate should be zero.

Here’s an overview of the most important Green Plan proposals.

Introducing carbon tax


Carbon dioxide taxes should be introduced gradually, therefore, on the use of fossil fuels that cause this harmful gas. This should drastically reduce the consumption of coal, gas and oil.

Expanding emissions trading


The license fee for entrepreneurs who pay for the carbon dioxide they cause should be increased. Even air traffic will no longer be able to pollute for free. This should lead to more expensive air traffic and reduced flights. Emissions trading should include ship traffic.

Encouraging investment


States and private companies would have to spend more money on electromobility infrastructure throughout the European Union. Thus, more than one million electric car charging stations should be created. The plan is to build wind farms at sea and land, as well as more environmentally friendly gas power plants.

The European Commission is talking about about 2.6 billion euros needed over the next ten years. The European Investment Bank should provide more credit for climate-friendly projects. Better house insulation and installation of environmentally friendly heating and ventilation systems are also envisaged.

Countervailing duties at borders


Even industries that require a lot of energy, such as the metal and aluminum industries, will no longer be exempt from paying the price of pollution. To offset losses from cheaper manufacturers, say from the United States or China, who do not have to comply with harsh environmental standards, a new tax or duty could be imposed on imports of certain products. However, this could provoke resentment from the US, China and other manufacturers and lead to new trade conflicts. A ‘carbon tax’ could be possible for all products on the EU market. This would also make exports from Europe more expensive.

Allow green debts


Investments and financial products classified as environmentally friendly could be tax deductible. The proposal is highly controversial among financial politicians. There is still no consensus as to what is a “green financial product” at all.

Increase in consumer price


Private consumers should pay more for fossil fuels, gasoline, oil and gas. This should make it possible to switch to clean electric vehicles or rail. The financially weaker households should be compensated in order for the Green Plan to be acceptable to society.

Encouragement of organic farming


The European Commission is trying, as far as possible, to reduce the use of pesticides and insecticides in agriculture. Transport routes should be shortened and local farming should be encouraged. The motto is – from farm to plate. A fundamental reform of agriculture is also planned.

Productive recycling


Waste recycling, careful use of resources, use of biomass and other measures should gradually take root in the economy. The less raw material used, the better.

Depreciate structural changes


Compensation payments and special incentives of € 35-100 billion are foreseen for regions in Europe that still live on coal production today. This applies to regions in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, but also to some areas in Germany. The amount and system of these payments will have to be agreed at EU level, which of course concerns the EU medium-term budgetary framework. This framework is currently being discussed by the Member States. Attitudes of net payers (like Germany) and net recipients (like Poland) continue to differ significantly.

Next steps


The new green social contract must now support 27 EU Member States (probably excluding the UK). It is debatable how much a country will have to contribute to climate protection and compensatory measures. First of all, Eastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, which consume a lot of coal, are skeptical. They seek financial relief.

Germany, according to environmental associations, should also tighten its climate targets if it wants to achieve the goal of reducing the carbon dioxide emissions by 50 or 55 percent from 1990 by 2030.


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