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EU eyes fund to protect citizens from new carbon prices
The European Commission will soon announce a wide range of measures to tackle climate change. These policies are awaited by non-governmental organizations that are looking for strong and credible actions to meet the carbon neutrality European Union target by 2050, but also by organizations that could be directly impacted by new policies. Some sectors are likely to be more concerned by new measures than others, such as the transport and the energy sectors, which represent a significant part of carbon emissions across the EU. If the European Emission Trading System (ETS) is already implemented for many sectors of the economy, the EU plans to create a new separated system for buildings and transportation.
Another key measure will concern the price of a tonne of CO2. It has already risen a few months ago, but a new price increase is needed to achieve the 2030 EU climate target, i.e. cutting by 55% carbon emissions. However, it will have huge consequences on European citizens, especially the the most vulnerable ones. Thus, Frans Timmermans, the European Commission Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, has announced the implementation of a fund to support vulnerable households after the carbon price rises. The Commission is aware of the costs it has on European citizens and the social impacts it will have. Lower income households tend to be more reliant on fossil fuels for transportation as electrical or hybrid cars are much more expensive. Furthermore, they do not have access to properly insulated dwellings and have high energy costs. Therefore, the Commission is willing to help those in need by channeling carbon revenues back to citizens. This financial support will focus on switching to alternative green energy for heating systems or vehicles; however, the conditions to access the fund have not been unveiled.
Despite global emissions falling 7% in 2020, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is at its highest level in modern history
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have published a new global report on carbon dioxide emissions. The study has unveiled that carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere was at its highest level since the preindustrial era, which represents a rise of 50% since that period. Even if the report also presents a drop of 7% of last year's emissions due to the pandemic crisis, efforts to tackle climate change need to be strengthened.
The amount of carbon emissions during a year is a flux and should not be mistaken with the stock of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Organizations and individuals must keep cutting their emissions each year, but also contribute to reducing the total amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere in order to achieve global carbon neutrality. New technology-based solutions are in development to sequester carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, but these technologies require much research and cost much more than other initiatives such as reforestation or afforestation projects. Thus, the report is a call for companies to invest in new long-term solutions to have a bigger impact on the environment and meet climate targets fixed by the Paris Agreement. If countries want to achieve global carbon neutrality, they need to invest in a wide range of projects and make sure it meets their climate targets.
G7 agree on ‘historic steps’ to make climate reporting mandatory
The G7 Summit took place in London last week and gathered ministers from seven of the largest economies of the world. A lot was expected from this summit, especially regarding climate policies. Climate topics will also be discussed during the G20 Summit later this year and before the COP26 that will be held in Glasgow in November.
At the end of the summit, finance ministers have announced their will to implement mandatory climate reporting for companies. The purpose of this measure is to enhance transparency and mitigation of climate risks. G7 Ministers have expressed their interest in asking companies to align their reporting with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Another announcement is the backup by G7 nations on the Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) launched on Friday, which aims to align reporting with nature-based risks.
Other measures discussed concern crackdown on environmental crime. It has become clearer that fighting climate change was also fighting organizations that severely jeopardized the environment and biodiversity.
Finally, G7 nations have expressed their support to the least developed countries that suffer from the pandemic crisis. Ministers have announced their commitments to implement funds and allocations to the most vulnerable countries in order to address health and economic issues. It will also contribute to the funding of greener economic recoveries as it has been necessary to rebuild our societies on more sustainable pillars.