More than one million citizens back calls for EU green investments to spur Covid-19 recovery
More than 100 environmental NGOs and one million European citizens have joined the calls for the European Union (EU) to stimulate the economy through massive green investment efforts.
Spearheaded by the Green 10 coalition, more than 1.2 million people have joined campaigns at avaaz, WeMove Europe, and SumOfUs to support a green economic recovery in Europe.
Green 10 has sent a letter to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, calling on the bloc to mobilise the world’s largest green investment fund to spur a low-carbon recovery from the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus.
At a European level, the Green New Deal includes a 50-55% emissions reduction target for 2030; a climate law to reach net-zero emissions by 2050; and a transition fund worth €100bn and a series of new sector policies to ensure all industries are able to decarbonise.
The EU executive launched a public consultation on its “Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy”, part of a €1trn package to make the European economy greener by 2030.
However, the Commission is also discussing an EU recovery fund, with MEPs meeting on Friday (15 May) to discuss a new seven-year budgetary process. Ahead of that meeting, campaigners have called on the EU to invest billions into a green economy by focusing on building renovations, renewable energy capacity, boosting clean and public transport and restoring natural habitats.
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe’s director Wendel Trio said: "The COVID-19 crisis teaches us that prevention is better than cure. Acting to prevent dangerous climate change is the best way to get Europe and the world out of this economic crisis in a way that protects citizens and economies from future disruptions.
“And an ambitious climate policy is a guarantee that the stimulus package will have the most value for its money. For the next EU budget that means no support to fossil fuels and spending plans that serve the transition to climate neutrality."
EurActiv has reported that the European Commission's Green Deal chief, Frans Timmermans, assured EU lawmakers that "every euro" spent on economic recovery measures after the Covid-19 crisis would be linked to the green and digital transitions.
The NGOs have joined the growing calls for the EU to lead an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic through a green stimulus.
Business members of the European Corporate Leaders Group (CLG Europe) have joined the European Parliament, policymakers and NGOs in forming an alliance for a "green recovery" of the European economy that assists with the ongoing fight against the climate crisis.
The alliance commits signatories to work collaboratively to create and deliver bespoke post-crisis green investment packages to help the pan-European economy market recover, while also mobilising plans that place climate change mitigation and biodiversity at the heart of any stimulus plans.
Commenting on the letter, Ester Asin, director of the WWF European Policy Office, said: “We’ve heard a lot of lip service paid to a ‘green recovery’ lately, but now it’s time for decision-makers to put their money where their mouth is.
“The current crisis is a stark reminder of how closely human and planetary health are interlinked - only together can people and nature thrive. A green recovery means restoring nature, protecting our environment, and accelerating the transition to a carbon-neutral and resilient economy. MEPs must lead the way."
In a recent feature, edie outlined ‘Why the Green New Deal is the perfect response for the post-Covid-19 economy’, featuring comments from renowned climate authors and academic experts.