11 months ago

War, Peace and the Green Economy

  • Text
  • Green economy
  • Peace
  • War
  • Ukraine
  • China
  • Africa
  • Europe
This magazine is about the world’s collective and potentially transformational journey towards a green economy. It is also about taking you, the reader, on what we hope is an equally fascinating ”green voyage” across some key parts of Europe as well as to Africa and China.


WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE EU Outside shocks are supercharging the EU Green Deal – for now Russia’s war against Ukraine and, before that, Covid 19 risk derailing the EU’s ambitious Green Deal. Instead, as Wester van Gaal explains, both external shocks have supercharged the project – at least for now. By WESTER VAN GAAL of the struggle between liberal democracy and authoritarianism - it presented Europe as a green soft power alternative to China, Russia and the United States. As we now know, parliament approved the proposal - and even asked the commission to increase its climate ambitions further. Climate change as national security issue Fast forward to the first quarter of 2022 and with the onset of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, gas prices are surging and calls to wean Europe off Russian gas have become louder and more persistent. “Climate policy is now a matter of national security,” an EU official told EUobserver. At the time of writing, it is still unclear whether Europe will ultimately sanction Russian oil- and gas imports, given that Germany is especially reliant on Russian gas imports. But the new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has already halted the controversial Nord Stream 2 project and the EU appears ready to double down on the Green Deal. European speeches rarely excite. The EU’s lawmaking process is incremental and disjointed, and the stakes are often obfuscated by detail and too many acronyms. But when European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, on December 13 2019, had to convince the European Parliament to approve the landmark Green Deal, Europe’s overarching policy to become the world’s first “climate-neutral bloc” by 2050, he brought out the big guns. “We choose to go for climate neutrality in 2050 and do the other things. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard,” he said, adapting the ‘Man on the Moon’ speech by John F. Kennedy. Wrapped in the pathos of past scientific, industrial and civic success, Timmermans presented the Green Deal as a do or die moment in European history. It would “organise and measure the best of our energies and skills,” he said. “Because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept. One we are unwilling to postpone. And one which we intend to win.” It was meant to solve the problem of political disagreement and paralysis among EU member countries while also serving the external goal of projecting a unified image. By attaching it to the Cold War narrative of the space race - a symbol “The Green Deal is also the answer to the security challenge in the energy field,” Timmermans said in the wake of the invasion. On March 8, two weeks after the Russian military offensive, the Commission presented plans to decrease Russian gas imports by two-thirds before the end of the year. RepowerEU introduces some new measures. It will require gas storage across the EU to be filled up to at least 90 percent of its capacity by October 1 each year. In addition, it projects increased Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) imports from other countries, mainly the United States. It even encourages EU members 7

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