31 Mar 2020

The European Green Deal after Corona

Implications for EU climate policy

Milan Elkerbout / Christian Egenhofer / Jorge Núñez Ferrer / Mihnea Catuti / Irina Kustova / Vasileios Rizos

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Climate change policy cannot be the first priority of the EU for the immediate future. However, in spite of the corona-crisis the urgency of climate change mitigation has not disappeared. The post-corona recovery can both put the EU’s decarbonisation progress back on track – after low-carbon investments will inevitably take a hit – but the EU’s Green Deal proposals can likewise support the general economic recovery. It will be important to ensure that recovery measures are compatible with global climate change and European Green Deal priorities so that stimulus money will flow to economic activities that have a place in a climate-neutral world. As time passes, the re-launch may actually offer a unique opportunity for the EU to live up to the Green Deal’s promise of economic modernisation along the Paris decarbonisation objectives. The period we have until the relaunch should be used to develop a new agenda. These ideas will not per se be off-the-shelf but go beyond current solutions for decarbonisation. Instead of tinkering around the margins, the EU should focus on transformational technologies, and for example go big on low-carbon infrastructure, efficient buildings, and lead markets to boost demand for climate-neutral industry.