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European election results may impact EU climate policy. Polls show a lead for skeptical right-wing parties

POLITICSEuropean election results may impact EU climate policy. Polls show a lead for skeptical right-wing parties

Issues related to the European Green Deal, climate neutrality, and the associated socio-economic costs are key points of debate ahead of the upcoming European Parliament elections. According to a poll by the European Council on Foreign Relations, the community is likely to shift to the right, with right-wing populist parties gaining votes and seats, while center-left and green parties are expected to lose. This may change and delay the implementation of the EU’s green agenda. Concerns about the costs of the green transition could also slow progress in this area.

Farmers, among others, have expressed dissatisfaction with the proposed changes, organizing loud protests in several EU countries in recent months. Emissions data from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) indicate that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels in the EU fell by 8% in 2023, reaching levels last seen in the 1960s. However, the EU is behind on its 2030 goal to cut CO2 emissions by 55% from 1990 levels.

The European Commission announced a new intermediate target of a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2040 compared to 1990. This goal aims to confirm the EU’s determination to combat climate change and provide predictability for businesses and investors. After the June elections, the next European Commission is expected to present legislative proposals to include the 2040 target in EU climate law.

Efforts are also being made to enhance climate risk management capabilities. A report based on data from the Copernicus program showed that 2023 was the hottest year on record, with the average global temperature increase surpassing the 1.5°C threshold set by the Paris Agreement. Europe has been experiencing more severe climate change impacts, such as extreme weather events. According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, 77% of Europeans consider climate change a very serious issue, and more than one personally experiences the effects of climate risk. The upcoming European Parliament elections could bring changes in the approach to the green transition and climate policy, influenced by the rising popularity of right-wing parties and concerns about the costs of the green transition. The elections will take place across the EU from June 6 to 9, 2024.

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