EU Gears up for Carbon Battle
It was a very early start for Taoiseach, Micheál Martin as he set off to Brussels today for a major two-day summit which is expected to be dominated by discussions on the EU meeting its carbon emissions targets.
Hopefully, he has packed a pair of his Dad’s old boxing gloves, as there is expected to be a bit of a battle between the richer countries and the poorer countries about compensation for the impact emission reduction measures will have, as the negative impact they have on poorer countries is much greater.
Poland, a country heavily dependent on fossil fuels, will be leading the calls for financial compensation for countries that will be most adversely affected. It will be very interesting to see who else joins them.
It will be particularly interesting to see what corner of the ring Ireland end up in, with many in rural Ireland taking a firm stance against many of the measure needed to reduce carbon emissions. From higher taxes on petrol and diesel to reducing the national herd of cattle, it does often seem like rural counties get the sharp end of the stick.
One of the biggest debates will be how to set emission reduction targets for industries no subject to the EU’s carbon pricing mechanism, as well as plans to extend this mechanism to industries such as car manufacturing.
All of this is leading to a July announcement from the European Commission of the legal pathway for the EU to hit its target of a 55% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.
Striking a deal on these measures will be an unprecedented feat for the EU, which has embarked on one of the most radical decarbonisation agendas of any developed economy. The EU aims to become the first continent to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
However, there may be more unity at the summit than expected, with everyone keen to discuss how to give Belarus a few sharp jabs and a bloody nose over their piratical hijacking of a Ryanair flight to Lithuania to arrest a leading opposition figure.