from The Internationalist and International Institutions and Global Governance Program

The EU's 'Fit for 55' Just Raised the Bar on Climate Policy

When it comes to climate change diplomacy, the European Union is the world’s heavy hitter. But will the world follow its lead?
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presents the EU's new climate policy proposals as EU Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni sits next to her, in Brussels, Belgium on July 14, 2021.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presents the EU's new climate policy proposals as EU Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni sits next to her, in Brussels, Belgium on July 14, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman

In my weekly column for World Politics Review, I detail the European Commission’s new 12-point climate change plan, the challenges the plan faces, and whether other countries will follow its lead.

Last week the European Commission seized global leadership on climate change, unveiling a sweeping scheme to reduce the EU’s carbon emissions by 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and achieve “net zero” by 2050. Brussels envisions a total overhaul of the bloc’s economy, including eliminating the sale of new gas- and diesel-powered automobiles by 2035 and introducing border taxes to penalize imports from jurisdictions less committed to decarbonization. 

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The bloc’s bold move ramps up diplomatic pressure on the United States, China and other major emitters to respond in kind in the run-up to the Glasgow climate change conference. The ultimate fate of the commission’s proposal will depend on whether its carbon border adjustment scheme proves WTO-compatible; whether the heterogeneous, 27-member European Union maintains solidarity as it hammers out the plan’s details; and whether others in fact follow the bloc’s lead.

Read the full World Politics Review article here

More on:

Climate Change

European Union

Global Governance

Trade

Energy and Climate Policy