By Mariia Orudzhova
Climate change and environmental degradation pose significant threats not only to Europe but also to the global community. To combat these challenges, the European Union (E.U.) formulated the European Green Deal (EGD), a transformative strategy to reshape the E.U. into a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy. Introduced in December 2019, this pivotal policy outlines a roadmap for member nations to achieve the ambitious goal of climate neutrality by 2050, effectively redefining Europe's economic and environmental landscape.
At its essence, the EGD presents a comprehensive response to the climate crisis by proposing a multifaceted approach to address a spectrum of challenges—from biodiversity loss to carbon emissions. This all-encompassing strategy encompasses various policy initiatives geared towards substantially contributing to combatting climate change. These initiatives span sustainable agriculture, circular economy principles, energy transition, and biodiversity conservation. By intertwining environmental protection with economic growth, the aim is to cultivate a resilient, carbon-neutral economy prioritizing sustainability and nature conservation.
The EGD is a transformative policy that set the E.U. on the path of green transition. The approach supported the transformation of the E.U. into a fair and prosperous society with a modern and competitive economy (European Council, 2023). The policy underlined the need to develop a holistic approach addressing all relevant policy areas vital in achieving climate-related goals (European Council, 2023). The E.U. Commission believed that by adopting this policy, the region could finally transition to climate neutrality, which would come with significant opportunities. Some countries expected benefits such as achieving climate neutrality, job opportunities, technological development, economic development, and adopting new business models and markets. The EGD includes various flagship initiatives to ensure that the E.U. eventually achieves its objectives. The figure 1 below shows the multiple initiatives included under the Green Deal.
Figure 1: Green Deal initiatives and policies (Fediol, 2023).
It includes the Fit for 55 packages that aimed to translate the climate ambitions included in the Green Deal into law. The package aimed to ensure that all sectors of the E.U. were fit to meet the climate and energy challenges (European Council, 2023). Another important initiative of the Green Deal was the European Climate Law regulation. The regulation gave legal implications to the political and environmental goals of attaining net neutrality by 2050. The law also provided a framework to achieve these interim goals. The third initiative, the Farm to Fork strategy, aimed to shift the current E.U. food system towards a sustainable model (European Council, 2023). The plan aimed to ensure sufficient, affordable, and nutritious food was available within planetary limits. It also aimed to promote sustainable food consumption and healthy diets, which would result in reduced waste. The other initiative in the Green Deal was the Circular Economy Action Plan, which aimed to shift the circular systems in production and consumption.
Description Of the Policy Evaluation Approach
Policy evaluation follows the monitoring of the implementation of policy programs. It involves analyzing how well a policy achieves the expected objectives after its implementation. The assessment of the EGD will require a multifaceted approach that considers its broad-ranging objectives and diverse impacts across economic, societal, and environmental domains.
a. Cost-Benefit Analysis
- Objective: This strategy involves assessing the costs associated with implementing the policy alongside the benefits generated.
- Focus Areas: For the EGD, this analysis targets the implementation costs of its initiatives and evaluates potential costs incurred by industries and sectors adapting to new regulations.
b. Impact Evaluation:
- Objective: This crucial strategy assesses the outcomes and effectiveness of the EGD policy.
- Focus Areas: The evaluation encompasses environmental, economic, and social impacts, gauging the policy's influence across these dimensions.
c. Comparative Analysis and Best Practices
- Evaluation of the EGD's effectiveness would also involve an analysis of the effectiveness of the policy benchmarked against international best practices and a comparison with other similar policy initiatives adopted globally. The policy would achieve this objective by investing in renewable energy, infrastructure, and sustainable industries (PWC, 2022).
Brief Overview of Data Sources
- Emissions Data: The data comes from National and EU-level greenhouse gas emissions records and reports.
- Renewable Energy Statistics: Data on renewable energy capacity, generation, and consumption.
- Economic Impact
- Investment Reports: Data on investments in renewable energy, green infrastructure, and sustainable technologies.
- Employment Data: Employment statistics in green sectors, job creation in renewable energy industries.
- Social Impact
- Public Perception Surveys: Surveys measuring public awareness and attitudes towards green policies.
Each policy has strengths and weaknesses and shares common goals centered on sustainable development, renewable energy adoption, and climate action. The EGD is notably comprehensive, focusing on various sectors. This broad approach would provide a more holistic response to the interconnected social, economic, and environmental challenges. In addition, the EGD's combination of investment strategies, regulatory frameworks, and a transition support mechanism across the E.U. presents a multifaceted approach that might work more effectively in addressing the climate change problem.
In conclusion, the EU Green Deal represents a visionary framework for addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, and sustainability. While initially ambitious, the progress achieved thus far signifies the attainability of its goals by the target year. The EGD underscores the significance of a holistic approach to tackling climate change, showcasing promising initial progress poised to endure over the forthcoming decades.
European Commission (2021, July). Delivering the European Green Deal. Commission.europa.eu. https://commission.europa.eu/strategy-and-policy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal/delivering-european-green-deal_en#transforming-our-economy-and-societies
European Council. (2023). European Green Deal. Www.consilium.europa.eu. https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/green-deal/
Fediol., (2023). Green Deal initiatives and policies. https://www.fediol.eu/web/statistics%202012/1011306087/list1187970195/f1.html
PWC (2022). Are Europe's businesses ready for the EU Green Deal? EU Green Deal Survey Report. https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/tax/publications/assets/eu-green-deal-tax-report.pdf