The ill wind of the Europeans

What happened so that the fight against climate change, at the heart of the European elections in 2019, has so disappeared from the radar five years later? It’s not that an entire continent is burying its head in the sand: 78% of Europeans think that environmental issues “have a direct effect on their daily life and their health”, according to the March 2024 Eurobarometer survey. 84% even think that the rules adopted at European level “are necessary to protect the environment”.

The major difference with 2019: the fight against global warming is no longer a consensus. Only 32% of Europeans think that the EU has had a positive impact in this area, even though it remains a “priority” for 52% of them, according to a Euronews-Ipsos survey carried out in March in 18 countries.

Farmers are the symbol of this great reversal, who obtained the dismantling of the Green Deal. In 2019, Ursula von der Leyen, just elected as President of the Commission, announced that Europe would become the first continent to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.. This road plan was certainly “insufficient”, but constituted “at least one step forward to break the deadlock”, recalls the German media Klimareporter. Despite the Covid crisis and the war in Ukraine, European climate policy has actually emerged from limbo. Europe has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030. The EU has proposed more than 150 measures labeled Green Deal and 76 have been adoptedincluding the end of sales of thermal engine cars in 2035, a plan for renewable energies and a carbon tax at the borders.

For several months, however, it has been “green backlash”, explains the British media CarbonBrief. The coming far-right wave, to which International mail dedicates its front page this week, “could have major consequences on the political direction of the European Union”, relieving CNN. These populist parties (French RN, German AfD, Polish PiS, Hungarian Fidesz, Fratelli d’Italia, Chega in Portugal, etc.) will undoubtedly not form a united group in the European Parliament. But they already agree to criticize the Green Deal. The head of the PiS list, Beata Szydlo, repeats that she wants to throw him out “in the garbage”. The Danish People’s Party threatens to walk out of the national climate agreement. In France, Jordan Bardella promises to put an end to wind and solar power and to repeal the ban on the sale of thermal cars in 2035.

THE “the most ambitious climate plan in the world has become a major political handicap”, summary Bloomberg. The election result this Sunday will say “what voters really think of the Green Deal”. Even more moderate parties have revised the way they present the climate fight “as a way for Europe to play a leading role globally”, to favor protectionist announcements. The far right only had to blow on the embers of anger, against the ban on boilers in Germany or against measures for sustainable agriculture in France and the Netherlands.

From now on, a majority of sustainable development experts interviewed by the European Barometer on the Green Deal of the Institute for European Environmental Policy believe that these elections will have a negative effect on climate change. We would like to cling to a glimmer of hope: according to the think tank which carried out this survey, published on May 21, 55% of respondents think that the European institutions will still succeed in achieving the objectives of the Green Deal.

In short

The climate advantage of the new Mexican president

Elected president of Mexico on June 2, and holder of a doctorate in energy engineering, Claudia Sheinbaum is the first woman scientist to access this position in Latin America. Will it be an asset for the climate? As a politician, her record in favor of the fight against climate change is rather positive. For example, relieve Science, “she contributed to the census of Mexico’s greenhouse gas emissions, worked on the democratization of electric vehicles in Mexico City and advised the public electricity supplier”. To know more, it’s here.

Promises kept late

Rich countries ended up reaching their objective of 100 billion dollars a year by 2022 to finance adaptation to climate change in the poorest nations, i.e. “two years later than promised”, raise it Financial Times. The promise dates back to COP15 in 2009. The twenty states responsible for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming “committed for the first time to help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change”. To know more, it’s here.

Latin America’s first climate refugees

The 300 families of the Panamanian island of Carti Sugdupu are forced to leave the “crab island” forever. The move to the continent began on June 3, and the 1,400 inhabitants of the small Caribbean island thus became the first climate refugees in Latin America. Daily life The Star of Panama followed by the official ceremony of handing over the keys to their new village. While the country stores more carbon than it emits thanks to its immense forest, it is suffering the full brunt of the consequences of climate change. To know more, it’s here.

Renewable energies: the account is not there

In December 2023, during COP28 in Dubai, representatives of 198 countries agreed to triple the electricity production capacity generated by renewable sources by 2030, recalls The Guardian. However, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), current energy transition programs will at most achieve a capacity of 8,000 gigawatts (GW), instead of the objective of 11,000 GW. To fill the “ditch” between ambitions and reality, governments must urgently “work to improve their electricity networks”, explains Heymi Bahar, from the AIE. To know more, it’s here.

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