José Manuel Fernandes

José Manuel Fernandes

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Zero Emissions Ambition

José Manuel Fernandes

Portuguese MEP, Professor and Politician

José Manuel Fernandes
In the European Union, we have approved an ambitious target: reducing emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and achieving carbon neutral by 2050. The EU is responsible for just 8% of global emissions. However, even though its responsibility is limited, it has a duty to be a leader, beacon and example on a global scale. In the EU, combating climate change should lead to a gradual and smooth transformation. It risks becoming a revolution, making it difficult to take the actions that will make it possible to achieve the climate targets and objectives to which we are committed.
The EU must demand reciprocity. In addition to demanding fair competition, carbon leakage cannot be allowed, or in other words, the relocation of our industry to third party countries with less ambitious standards. Therefore, the carbon border adjustment mechanism that will tax some products and raw materials entering the EU from countries that do not have the demanding European environmental standards is to be welcomed.
Solidarity implies environmental, economic and social sustainability. Future generations deserve to live with quality of life on a planet that has limits. To achieve the climate goals, we will have tough challenges to overcome. Jobs will be destroyed, the price of transport, energy and raw materials will rise. At the same time, we will have new jobs and the need for new technical skills. Research, innovation, education, business, universities, farmers, everyone without exception will have to work together in the implementation of a common plan.
Citizens must be told the truth. Goals cannot be achieved in the short term; electric or hydrogen-powered cars cannot be produced from one moment to the next; refineries cannot be closed without alternative raw materials; planes and ships won’t suddenly have environmentally friendly fuels; buildings won’t immediately improve their energy efficiency; the implementation of a forestry strategy, new carbon sinks will take time.
We must act transparently to prevent shady moves and deals being made on the back of climate goals that we all support. The challenge is huge. We must achieve the climate goals while maintaining the EU’s competitiveness and economic and social territorial cohesion.For the transition to be fair, planning, common sense and gradualism are required.
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