What does the Corona crisis mean for the European Green Deal?
Before the beginning of the Corona crisis, the so-called European Green Deal was the central issue in EU politics. Now the question is whether the pandemic threatens the far-reaching measures to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050 or whether it might even represent a unique opportunity for more climate protection.
ZIN member Prof. Andreas Löschel and Prof'in Karen Pittel (ifo Centre for Energy, Climate and Resources) argue in their article "The EU Green Deal and German efforts to protect the climate in the Corona crisis" that "if Europe wants to fulfill its obligations under international law arising from the Paris Agreement, it should, out of pure economic rationality, link the forthcoming economic policy measures to the achievement of climate targets, also and especially in the current crisis" (ifo Schnelldienst, 2020, p.7 ) and are against "postponing the climate policy reforms that the EU has begun in the framework of the Green Deal (...)" (ibid., p.8).
Löschel and Pittel also see a general CO2 pricing as the central market-based instrument for achieving climate goals and decarbonization. They see an opportunity for this in the pandemic (ibid., p.8f.), since now "prices for oil and gas will remain low for the foreseeable future" (ibid., p.9) and "reduced demand for electricity and increasing feed-in from renewables will lead to low prices for electricity on the stock exchange" (ibid.).
The contribution by ZIN member Prof'in Sabine Schlacke offers a legal perspective on the discussion. She argues that due to its lack of legislative competence, the EU continues to rely on ambitious climate protection targets and contributions from the individual member states in order to achieve its Green Deal goals. At the same time, she argues, the EU cannot sufficiently sanction member states if the agreed targets are not met (ibid., 29ff.).
According to Prof'in Schlacke, for Germany to achieve the goals of the European Green Deal, from a legal perspective it is particularly important for Germany to implement its own climate protection law consistently and effectively in practice, to refrain from going it alone at national level (as in the case of the Fuel Emission Trading Act, for example), and to accelerate the expansion of infrastructure projects and renewable energy plants (ibid., p.30f.)