Working together for a green, climate-neutral Europe
16 August 2019
This is part of a series looking at the priorities of the European Council and President-Elect of the European Commission ahead of the start of a new legislative term in the autumn. Orgalim Director General Malte Lohan discusses how Europe’s technology industries can support EU policymakers in delivering on the objectives that matter most to European citizens.
Of all the challenges Europe is facing, climate change looms largest. And whether on the streets or at the ballot box, citizens are sending a clear signal that they want Europe's leaders to act now before it’s too late. So it is encouraging to see “building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe” as one of the four strategic priorities put forward by the European Council for the coming five years – reinforced by Commission President-Elect von der Leyen’s proposal to introduce a “European Green New Deal” during her first 100 days in office.
Yet we have seen policymakers talk the talk on climate before only to start dragging their feet when it comes to the hard decisions. And it is true that there is a need to balance environmental and economic considerations. Take a look at what’s happening in Europe’s technology industries, however, and you will soon find that working towards climate neutrality need not be perceived as a trade-off: there are many steps we can take that are win-win for the EU’s citizens, our industry and our planet.
European companies are pioneering the technologies that will boost energy efficiency, lower emissions and make smarter use of resources across sectors from manufacturing to transport, agriculture and beyond. What’s more, our industries are playing a central role in driving the transformation needed at the system level to enable a circular economy, sustainable mobility and greener cities. This makes the move to a climate-neutral future an opportunity to also boost the EU economy – after all, the first movers on technology innovation and adoption will take the lead in the new global markets already emerging.
Without losing sight of the complexity of the task ahead, it seems both the European Council and President-Elect von der Leyen recognise these opportunities. To fully unlock this potential, however, we will need to move past a simplistic view of ill-defined ‘industry interests’ on one side of the divide and climate justice on the other. It goes without saying that industry - including ours - will need to make changes too, and much is already happening to lower emissions across sectors. But when you consider the industrial innovations that will be a big part of the solution – from energy-efficient building systems to smart grids to e-mobility infrastructure – it is clear that Europe’s technology industries have a strong interest in leading this transformation. Making the move to climate neutrality is something policymakers can only achieve in collaboration with industry. Together, we will shape a future that’s good for our planet, our people and the EU’s economic prosperity.
Read Orgalim’s recommendations on how the EU can turn challenges such as climate change into drivers of innovation and prosperity in ‘2030: an industry vision for a renewed Europe’.