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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a press conference in Brussels, July 2021. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a press conference to unveil the EU’s sweeping new climate legislation in Brussels, July 14, 2021 (AP photo by Valeria Mongelli).

The EU Green Deal Just Raised the Bar on Climate Policy

Monday, July 19, 2021

Last week the European Commission seized global leadership on climate change, unveiling a sweeping scheme to reduce the EU’s carbon emissions by 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and achieve “net zero” by 2050. Brussels envisions a total overhaul of the bloc’s economy, including eliminating the sale of new gas- and diesel-powered automobiles by 2035 and introducing border taxes to penalize imports from jurisdictions less committed to decarbonization. 

The bloc’s bold move ramps up diplomatic pressure on the United States, China and other major emitters to respond in kind in the run-up to the Glasgow climate change conference. The ultimate fate of the commission’s proposal will depend on whether its carbon border adjustment scheme proves WTO-compatible; whether the heterogeneous, 27-member European Union maintains solidarity as it hammers out the plan’s details; and whether others in fact follow the bloc’s lead. ...

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