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The European Green Pact


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Diario de Navarra and Diario de Avisos

Luis Herrera Mesa

Full Professor emeritus. University of Navarra

French President Jacques Chirac addressed the Johannesburg climate summit with these words: "Our house is burning and we are looking the other way".

In my latest book on Ecology, Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction (McGraw-Hill), available on the internet and published last May, in the context of the European Green Pact, "it is clear that we are in an era of global warming due to natural causes such as methane and carbon dioxide emissions, volcanic eruptions, severe forest fires and anthropogenic emissions of these same greenhouse gases. We are facing a global climate change that affects not only temperature changes, but also the increase and intensity of cyclones and storms, the alteration of rainfall cycles and the increasing melting of the planet's glaciers. We point to climate change; air, water, soil and ocean pollution; natural disasters and catastrophes; ecosystem fragmentation; the use of pesticides and fertilisers; poaching and overfishing; and the invasion of alien species, with health effects in the transmission of pathogens and zoonoses, as causes of species extinction and the resulting loss of biodiversity in ecosystems. We highlight more than 25 zoonotic diseases transmitted by pathogens to humans and animals, including the COVID-19 coronavirus. In the second part of the book, we outline proposals for mitigating species extinctions by ensuring resilient ecosystems that can absorb disturbances and recover pristine conditions: the declaration of protected areas and spaces, the restoration of ecological corridors to avoid the isolation of populations, the creation of nature conservation and seed banks, botanical gardens and modern zoos at research where ex situ conservation breeding programmes are carried out for endangered species that can be reintroduced into the wild, and programmes to protect threatened, vulnerable or endangered species, such as the European Union's LIFE Programme."

The European Green Pact

Indeed, climate change and environmental degradation are a severe threat facing Europe and the rest of the world. To overcome these challenges, the European Commission adopted in 2019, the European Green Pact which is a shared strategy with a commitment to reduce net carbon dioxide emissions to zero by 2050 at the latest. To achieve this goal, Europe needs growth planning that transforms the Union's development into a modern and competitive Economics that drives resource efficiency by moving to a clean and circular Economics . Action is also needed to reduce pollution and, where possible, restore biodiversity in ecosystems.

In order to achieve these goals, action will be needed in all sectors of our Economics: investing in environmentally friendly technologies; supporting industry to innovate; deploying cleaner, cheaper and healthier public and private transport systems; decarbonising the energy sector; ensuring that buildings are more energy efficient; and strengthening international partnership to improve global environmental standards.

The European Green Pact aims to leave behind a patron saint of economic growth considered unsustainable and obsolete. To this end, in addition to drastically reducing polluting emissions, it includes measures to promote renewable energies, electric cars and recycling, improve air and water quality, combat deforestation, renovate inefficient buildings and amend the Common Agricultural Policy to set targets for reducing pesticides and fertilisers. The Pact outlines the necessary investments and financing tools to ensure a just transition that leaves no one behind. The EU aims to be climate neutral by 2050, and to this end, it is proposed to complement the European Green Deal with a European Climate Law The EU aspires to be climate neutral by 2050, and to this end, it is proposed to complement the European Green Pact with a European Green Pact to make this political commitment a legal obligation for all EU member states.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in proposing the European Green Pact in the European Parliament, argued that "just as Europeans invested in coal and steel after the Second World War, now is the time to invest in renewable energies to reconcile Economics with the planet". His proposal was backed by the People's Party, the Socialists and the Liberals, the three majority forces in the European Parliament.