Leaders of the European Union have no shortage of complex issues to face, including the ongoing tensions of Brexit, economic and political difficulties in Ukraine and the genuine possibility of recession in Italy (due in part to the nation's conflicts with EU authorities over spending). Nevertheless, the European Commission is also actively planning for the years and decades to come, as illustrated in its recent announcement of plans to turn Europe into the world's first fully carbon-neutral economy by 2050.
According to a Nov. 28 press release by the Commission, work toward the realisation of this initiative will begin immediately, with EU member states expected to send their proposals for environmental and energy-related action for review by EU experts by the end of 2018. The coalition of nations plans to submit this information collectively in 2020 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in accordance with its acceptance of the Paris Agreement's terms earlier this year.
Maroš Šefcovic, vice president of the EU's Energy Union, explained that working at and eventually achieving this goal of carbon neutrality would not only serve the greater good of the world at large, but also have benefits for the economies of member states.
"We cannot safely live on a planet with a climate that is out of control," Šefcovic said. "But that does not mean ... we should sacrifice the livelihoods of Europeans. [In recent] years, we have shown how to reduce emissions, while creating prosperity, high-quality local jobs, and improving people's quality of life .. Our strategy now shows that by 2050, it is realistic to make Europe both climate-neutral and prosperous."
The EU's population appears inclined to believe in the hazards of climate change and the value of working to mitigate it. According to the latest special Eurobarometer collecting EU citizens' opinions on various matters, 93 per cent of the survey's respondents believe human beings are the main cause of climate change, and 85 per cent support energy-efficiency efforts as a viable method of job creation.