Climate change refers to the ongoing increase in Earth’s mean surface temperature also commonly referred to as global warming. Current estimates are that the planet is about 1°C warmer when compared to the pre-industrial period. Emissions of greenhouse gases2 (GHG) due to human activities are responsible for these temperature increases. In order to limit the catastrophic consequences of climate change, the global community signed the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The European Union and other countries have started to shape a concrete policy response. In particular, the EU announced the European Green Deal (EGD) in December 2019 as the roadmap towards a carbon-neutral Europe by 2050.
The EGD represents a necessary and welcome shift of Europe’s overall policy agenda. The key question is whether the EGD is capable of delivering the system change which is required to limit global warming to 1.5°C? Is the European Green Deal ambitious enough?
This policy paper responds to this question in two steps. The first is to provide a concise summary of climate science’s main conclusions and the second is to compare these with Europe’s policy response in general and the EGD in particular.