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News & Opinions

  • Why Europe needs a water resilience strategy

    February 8, 2024

    One quarter of the global population is currently facing an unprecedented level of water stress. Europe is no exception: as a result of the rising temperatures dictated by climate change, water scarcity is already a reality for many Europeans. The European Commission's findings that 38% of the EU population and 29% of the EU territory were  in 2019. In summer 2022, the European Drought Observatory's report that approximately 44% of continental Europe was in a...

  • Implementation time: Can Member States put EU climate ambition into practice?

    January 31, 2024

    Current energy and climate policies of EU Member States are not sufficient to achieve the EU’s 2030 climate target. This is one of the conclusions from the European Commission’s assessment of the draft National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) published just before Christmas. A tough message, especially as the EU is grappling with a wave of European and national elections, a lack of global industrial competitiveness and the requirement to set a more ambitious climate...

  • Bidding farewell to fossil fuels at COP28: How to get it right this time

    November 27, 2023

    A global agreement to phase out unabated fossil fuels is essential for the EU’s climate goals  Only in sectors where they are hard to replace, such as cement and steelmaking, and only if their emissions are captured to prevent their release into the atmosphere. Those are the conditions of the global agreement to phase out unabated fossil fuels that the EU is seeking to secure at COP28, the UN’s principal conference on climate change, starting...

  • The European Union and the era of hard choices

    September 27, 2023

    The European Union, born out of a vision for peace, unity, and prosperity, is now at a pivotal juncture. This transformative phase, marked by environmental, political, and geopolitical challenges, calls for decisive action.   Here’s a look at three pressing areas where tough decisions beckon:  Re-orienting the EU Green Deal: from emissions reduction to re-industrialisation? The Green Deal, hailed as Europe’s ‘man on the moon moment’, represents the world’s most ambitious regulatory roadmap towards net-zero by...

  • Wind of change

    July 13, 2023

    The European Union is gearing up for a period of institutional renewal that will shape its agenda for the coming years. With the EU’s political parties preparing their policy manifestos for Europe’s future, and with the European Commission readying itself for a new mandate, it is the right moment for a stocktaking of where we stand on probably the most emblematic policy of this institutional cycle: the EU Green Deal. The pursuit of the Green...

  • The challenges for the EU’s Green Industrial Policy

    May 10, 2023

    In the past three years since the inception of the EU Green Deal, the road to decarbonisation has become increasingly complex. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, the energy crisis as well as the cost-of-living crisis, have made ambitious climate regulation more challenging for national industries. In response, the European Commission drafted its Green Deal Industrial Plan meant to support the industrial transition. However, three challenges might threaten this plan: political, financial, and social fragmentation.  Political...

  • Setting 2040 climate targets: technical adjustment or transformational agenda?

    May 8, 2023

    The EU is preparing to define its new 2040 climate goals, in an attempt to bridge the existing Commission’s Green Deal plan under the von der Leyen Presidency with the new leadership to be elected mid-2024. A public consultation for all stakeholders is open here. This 2040 exercise could lead to a couple of contrasting scenarios. Scenario 1 entails a purely technical re-modelling exercise on how to reach a lineal 2040 GHG reduction target –...

  • Sound climate policy involves preparing us for life on a hotter planet

    April 17, 2023

    The EU needs to take adaptation much more seriously in its upcoming climate plans. The EU’s consultations on its 2040 climate target have started. The EU could be aiming for a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 90%. That would entail a wholesale economic transformation beyond anything we have seen so far. This effort is commendable. If we want to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century and bridge the gap with the 2030 target, a...

  • Carbon Removals Handbook: A FleishmanHillard policy guide to EU carbon sequestration

    November 4, 2022

    Brussels is embarking on its carbon removals journey to try to tackle the CO2 already emitted into our atmosphere and the CO2 emissions we cannot reduce. The first big milestone will be the European Commission’s proposal for a carbon removal certification mechanism (CRCM). The challenge will be in setting credible standards for both nature-based removals (such as forestry) and technology-based removals (like direct air capture). The plans for the publication of the CRCM have piqued...

  • Why the EU can’t risk failure at COP27

    November 4, 2022

    Some claim that the toxic cocktail of conflict, inflation and an energy crisis mean global climate action is doomed. The EU has no choice but to prove the critics wrong, starting with COP27. The case for urgent climate action has rarely been stronger. Earlier this year, the IPCC, the panel of climate scientists of the United Nations, warned that the world needs to prepare for a hotter planet unless concerted, preventive global climate action is taken...