As the signs of a changing climate become even more difficult to ignore, calls for leaders to act echo around the globe.
It appears that in Europe these calls have resonated the loudest, as the European Commission unveiled this week an ambitious €1 trillion investment plan to put the continent on track to reach the 2050 emissions-neutrality goal, while also helping coal-producing regions to move away from fossil fuels.
The proposal would dedicate around a quarter of the EU budget to the task, with a new “Just Transition Mechanism” to help regions facing disruption because of the transition to a net zero-carbon economy.
According to EU officials, the mechanism would allocate cash based on specific criteria such as how many people work in coal mining or shale gas in any given region. Money could be spent on “re-skilling” workers or “investment in new productive activities”.
To qualify for the money, member states would have to put forward plans to restructure their economy on low-carbon lines, which would have to be signed off by the Commission.
With Europe being among the world’s top three CO2 emitters, EU’s commitment represents an extraordinary step forward towards achieving a more just and healthier climate for our planet.