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The European Union unveiled a plan this week to slash climate-changing emissions by 90 percent by 2040 and achieve “net zero” carbon neutrality by 2050, despite mounting opposition and protests from farmers and right-leaning parties skeptical of regulations relating to climate change, the Washington Post reported.
The proposed plan, subject to approval by member nations, will include reducing fossil fuel consumption by 80 percent, phasing out coal, and ramping up carbon capture and storage technologies.
The proposals are part of the bloc’s ambitious Green Deal – first unveiled in 2019 – to position itself at the forefront of the global transition and concerns over climate change.
Through a series of climate-friendly policies and targets, the EU now accounts for only seven percent of global emissions – a figure that was 13 percent 20 years ago.
While the bloc is still ironing out details of the plan, feedback from various stakeholders, including major companies and citizens, has shown varying opinions on how to achieve these goals, including concerns over costs that might impinge on the personal finances of EU citizens.
The most obvious sign of concern has come from farmers, who have taken to the streets of many major European cities to protest against some of the proposed regulations that would impact their livelihood.
These include rules to reduce emissions from agricultural activities and cuts on fuel subsidies.
Amid growing backlash from farmer groups, the EU’s executive body, the European Commission, backtracked on plans to cut emissions and halve the use of chemical pesticides, the Guardian noted.
The Commission’s shift also underscores efforts by EU politicians to secure support from farmers, as right-leaning parties skeptical of the Green Deal have been gaining traction in opinion polls.
Analysts believe right-leaning parties are poised for a major victory in the upcoming European parliamentary elections this year.
But despite opposition, analysts added that sticking to green policies is essential for the EU to lead in the energy transition, drive global corporate responsibility, and mitigate the economic losses of climate disasters.