The New Green Deal in Europe: will it be enough?

Even though some may think the New Green Deal is not enough, we need to participate to make it real. Because we are not only speaking about climate change that per se is important enough. We are talking about a new way of doing things. And let's face it: we really need it.

21 Apr 2021 Author Efrén del Pino Iglesias Signatures CO2 Reduction Green Deal
The New Green Deal in Europe: will it be enough?

Maybe not, but it is a much-needed start.

To understand where we are today, it is necessary to look back and analyze where we came from. This may help us to better grasp what this New Green Deal represents, as a culmination of the last 20 years of energy efficiency policies. For many, the Deal is insufficient, but others see it as a firm commitment and are waiting to see how it develops in practical terms, including what measures will be established by the EU with the new economic fund.

In 2006, the Energy Efficiency Action Plan (EEAP) introduced progressive efficiency objectives with a target date of 2020. The 20% reduction in the objective was a brave move and beneficial for most sectors. However, despite the Commission's specific recommendations, by 2015 it was already anticipated that, at most, the decrease in energy consumption would be between 6% and 11% - far from reaching 20%.

After analyzing the barriers to this change, the conclusion is that there were several factors that prevented the 2020 target from being achieved via the planned savings. These factors were: the lack of the political and regulatory commitment needed to drive the changes, to implement them; economic measures that placed the initial costs of technological changes on end users; long and complicated administrative processes; and cultural barriers to the adoption of new technologies.

Obviously, the European Union’s ongoing efforts to reduce energy consumption have not been enough, overall and in buildings. The strong need for efforts and investment to implement the changes was not taken into account and the impact of the global financial crisis imposed very different priorities for most sectors.

Today, the New Green Deal includes an investment of a trillion euros to achieve the 2050 zero emissions objective; a clear commitment and a big shift from the previous approach. What’s more, it implies not only a technological investment but the creation of a new economy. For many, this is perhaps one of the most substantial changes: a shift towards a new productive model based on circular economy and the recovery and reuse of resources with the clear objective of efficiency.

A cultural change

Scientific evidence in recent years has shown that the threat of climate change is real and far more than a conspiracy theory. Few people doubt the impact of climate change anymore, but the necessary cultural and economic shifts are not going to be easy.

Such cultural change won’t happen without global agreement. But that means ‘global’ in all senses, not only geographically, starting with a major change to the legal system and ending with a push for corporate responsibility. An effort that will only be possible with cooperation and compromise from all parties involved. If someone falters the rest of the pyramid falls.

We cannot expect that end users to sacrifice their comfort for the sake of all if corporations are not willing to pollute less and states do not optimize their facilities.

It may seem like a utopia, but at URSA we have committed ourselves to education and communication of the advantages regarding our “small” area of expertise: energy efficiency in buildings and thermal (and acoustic) insulation. European housing stock is outdated, and this means that the potential for improvement is huge. Small gestures, such as good insulation, can result in huge savings.

The sector must commit to driving these changes, not only creating new jobs and greater sustainability as a result but also confirming the direction that the European Union is indicating with the New Green Deal. Although to some it may fall short, there is no turning back: it’s a choice between joining the ‘battle’ or losing the ‘war’.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn in February 2020.

1532
Author

Efrén del Pino Iglesias

Marketing & Sales Performance Director

ursa@ursa.com