One hundred European policy makers, CEOs, business associations, labor unions and think tanks have signed an appeal to American authorities asking them to engage ambitiously in the fight against the climate crisis ahead of the Climate Leaders Summit, scheduled for April 22 and 23 by President Joe Biden.
We congratulate the measures undertaken against climate change by the new Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration and salute America’s return to the Paris Agreement. From now on, both sides of the Atlantic will share the objective of zero carbon emissions by 2050, 30 years from now.
This alliance between the United States and Europe is essential to combating climate change and ensuring a fair and lasting transition to carbon neutrality. Together, we account for about 25% of global carbon dioxide emissions and 40% of the world’s gross domestic product. We also constitute a market of 800 million people, with the United States being one of Europe’s major trading partners. Together, we can make a crucial difference in the transition to zero carbon emissions that is needed at the global level.
Six months after the May 2019 European elections, Europe tabled its greatest plan for zero carbon emissions ever, the European Green Deal.* Some thought that COVID-19 would stop this ambition, but to the contrary Europe accelerated its ecological transition. We are now implementing a plan for renewal that can both save our economy and align it with the objectives of the Paris agreement. This plan assigns 250 billion euros to fighting climate change over just three years, making it the largest stimulus ever to green investment in Europe! We have also made certain that no financing will negatively impact the environment and are proud of our achievement, hoping that the United States will follow the same path with its “Build Back America” program.
A Systemic Transformation
Today, the European Union is a leader in attacking climate change, having already adopted a climate objective for 2030 and developing a new regime for green investment. A cornerstone of this aspiration is our climate law, which contains our objectives and provides us with a clear path to achieving them over the coming decades.
Over the coming 18 months, we will begin a systemic transformation in our methods of production, consumption, movement and eating that will profoundly change the rest of the world. Our aim is unprecedented: to shape all our policies around combating climate change.
For that, we are going to ask our industries to become more green and invest in low-emissions technology thanks to higher carbon prices. Along with all this, we must guarantee fair trade competition for those who do not participate in these measures. This is the essence of our carbon emissions limits policy that will be presented in June.
Everyone Engaging in Reforms
The United States and the EU are confronted with different challenges in their transitions to zero carbon emissions. While Europe depends on imports to satisfy its energy needs, the United States by contrast has begun to export its energy surplus. Beyond such differences, however, we share a common program and must engage in common reforms. We also share the common aim of creating a fair and equitable transition to zero carbon emissions that avoids harming our citizens, our workers and our industries. This is why we must strengthen our cooperation and work together to lower carbon in our energy use, green our financial systems, introduce zero-emissions vehicles on our roads and speed up the renovation of our infrastructure.
Aiming for an Ambitious Goal
This decade is crucial for the fight against climate change! Climate change has no political stripes or borders, and no vaccine will ever protect us against it. Therefore, we, as European policy makers, CEOs, business associations, labor unions, researchers and stakeholders, call on the United States to live up to its plans by agreeing to a 50% reduction in greenhouse gases compared to 2005 levels by 2030.**
Sharing a Vision for a Global Movement
We can draw on our long history together and our shared vision to start a global movement that accompanies our creation of a new kind of prosperity for our societies. With zero-emissions economies and biodiversity conservation, we can create jobs and raise our citizens’ living standards. Here we have an opportunity for a new transatlantic cooperation whose main objective is carbon neutrality.
Thus, we call on America to demonstrate audacity and ambition equal to Europe’s with its Green Deal. We must devote ourselves to strengthening our cooperation as we advance toward carbon neutrality. This is a new chance, so let’s not miss it!
*Editor’s note: This is referred to both as the European Climate Pact and European Green Deal.
**Editor’s note: On April 22, the first day of the Climate Leaders Summit, President Biden announced this as a goal.