Green Deal’s goals must not be abandoned due to the current crisis
Munich, 19 April 2021
Europe is currently facing a triple challenge to its freedom and agency posed by climate change, growing international trade disputes and the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. According to the editors of acatech’s latest IMPULSE publication, the measures to help the economy recover from the impacts of the pandemic must therefore be clearly focused on transitioning to a sustainable industrialised economy in Europe. In this context, it is imperative to keep following the blueprint provided by the European Green Deal.
The European Green Deal launched by Ursula von der Leyen in 2019 is a major initiative aimed at driving an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable transformation of Europe’s industrial base. The acatech IMPULSE “Innovations for a European Green Deal” concludes that the current pandemic must not result in the abandonment of its ideas and goals.
Decision-makers in government, science and industry must try to ensure that the measures taken over the next few years to help Europe’s economy recover from the pandemic also consistently contribute to a sustainable transformation of value creation and to the achievement of the relevant climate targets. German representatives at EU level must continue to actively promote these goals now that Germany’s presidency of the Council of the European Union has ended. Europe should not limit its ambition to becoming the first climate-neutral continent – it should also aim to supply sustainable technology to the global market. Innovation must therefore be at the forefront of a sustainable reboot of the German and European economies.
Hydrogen, renewables-powered electrification, the digital and biological transformation and the principles of the circular economy are key drivers of a sustainable industrial transformation that are ready for deployment and are already available to Europe. However, the IMPULSE publication argues that it will not be possible to leverage these drivers without large-scale mobilisation of public and private capital. Instead of putting innovation policy on hold because of the current crisis, now more than ever it is vital for policymakers to champion pioneering European projects and the mobilisation of the necessary public and private investment.
This acatech IMPULSE highlights the fact that Europe has many brilliant minds with groundbreaking ideas who are primed to tackle this once-in-a-generation challenge. It is now up to government to activate these drivers by providing clear targets and a reliable framework (for example with regard to carbon pricing), and by engaging in joint initiatives with science and industry in order to make Europe an attractive location for investment in sustainability.