Europe must become a global climate power

(Eco Business, 25 Jan 2021) The climate crisis demands that the European Union turn its world-leading climate agenda into foreign policy. By deploying the financial, market, and diplomatic tools, Europe can lead the rest of the world towards a sustainable future.

The world is eagerly watching the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and looking forward to a return to normalcy after a year of lockdowns. But there will never be a vaccine for the other looming threat to humanity: climate change.

Apocalyptic images of forest fires in California and devastating floods in Bangladesh are harbingers of what awaits us if we fail to address the climate emergency. Without drastic action, such catastrophes will rage more frequently and ever more destructively.

Moreover, climate change is one of the biggest geopolitical challenges we face. As a conflict multiplier, it fuels sociopolitical instability, creates migratory pressures, aggravates global injustices, and jeopardises human rights and peace, especially in fragile states.

Climate scientists have made clear that to limit the rise in average global temperature to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels – the target of the Paris agreement – the world can emit only another 580 gigatons of carbon dioxide. That is our carbon budget – forever.

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Josep Borrell, a Vice President of the European Commission, is EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Werner Hoyer is President of the European Investment Bank.

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Eco Business, 25 Jan 2021: Europe must become a global climate power