The EU revolution for the climate: stop the fossil economy – Stop the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2035; plus taxes on fossil fuels (including kerosene); emissions trading allowances also for the aviation and maritime sectors according to the “polluter more pays more” principle; a parallel emissions market for road transport and buildings; a carbon tax at the border to stop polluting imports (to avoid the relocation of the green).

These are just some of the measures that the European Commission has announced in its maxi climate package. The goal is to cut emissions by 55% (compared to 1990) by 2030. And it won’t be easy without massive investments and even some sacrifices. Which, however, must not fall on the usual ones, on the last ones. “To avoid the Yellow Vest effect” a 70 billion euro social fund (financed by the emissions market) will be set up to accompany the transition.

We know where we want to go and what we need to do to get there. We know, for example, that our current fossil fuel economy has reached its limits. And we know that we have to move to a new model, one that is powered by innovation, that has clean energy, that is moving towards a circular economy, “explained the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, presenting the plan. .

“Europe is now the first continent to present a comprehensive architecture to meet our climate ambitions. We have the goal, but now we present a roadmap on how to achieve it,” he added.

More news is the 2035 deadline for cars that emit CO2. Emissions must decrease by 55% from 2030 and 100% from 2035 compared to 2021 levels. As a result, all new passenger cars registered from 2035 will be zero emissions. Translated: stop the sale of diesel and petrol cars. To facilitate the transition, the Commission is calling for investments to increase electric recharging points (one every 60 km on main roads) and hydrogen refueling points (every 150 km). However, the association of European car manufacturers (Acea) considers it an irrational solution.

At the heart of the European revolution is the ETS, the Co2 emissions trading system. “The principle is simple: CO2 emissions must have a price, which incentives consumers, producers and innovators to choose clean technologies, to move towards clean and sustainable products. And we know that the price of carbon works. Our current system trading system has already contributed significantly to reducing emissions in industry and power generation. So we will strengthen the existing system in these sectors. And we will make the emissions trading system applicable to aviation and the we will extend to the maritime one “, announced von der Leyen.

We need it because it suffices to consider that a single cruise ship alone consumes as much CO2 per day as 80,000 cars. And then we will build a second Ets for buildings and road transport. Because we all know that buildings consume 40% of energy today and road transport emissions have continually increased, not decreased but increased. And we need to reverse this trend. We need to reverse this trend and we need to do it in a fair and social way, “he added.

The ETS, now active for the electricity and manufacturing sectors, will allow a 62% reduction in CO2 emitted by these sectors by 2030. Currently, the system foresees a 43% cut (compared to the levels of the 2005) to be achieved by the end of the decade. The change to increase the reduction of pollution was also decided in the light of the results achieved: companies in the sector have already reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40%.

Linked to the ETS there is also the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), a carbon tax, to avoid delocalisation in flight from the EU’s green rules. “It will align the carbon price on imports with that applicable within the EU. In full compliance with our commitments in the WTO, this will ensure that our climate ambition is not undermined by foreign companies subject to more lax environmental requirements. It will encourage also greener standards outside our borders “, explained the European Commissioner for Economy, Paolo Gentiloni.

In essence, EU importers will purchase carbon certificates corresponding to the carbon price that would have been paid if the goods had been produced under EU carbon pricing rules. Conversely, once a non-EU producer can demonstrate that he has already paid a price for the carbon used in the production of goods imported into a third country, the corresponding cost can be fully deducted for the EU importer.

The EU package also proposes amendments to the European legislation on energy taxation. It proposes to raise the minimum rate of tax on fossil fuels and to tax kerosene used in aviation in the EU for the first time. Brussels believes that the current Energy Tax Directive, which dates back to 2003, has become obsolete, setting minimum rates for each sector usually lower than those already imposed by Member States and allowing national exceptions that encourage the use of highly fossil fuels pollutants when the EU would like to move precisely in the opposite direction.

To correct the course, it proposes to eliminate the exemptions that now favor these fuels and to allow reduced rates only for clean energy sources, as well as to set tariffs based on the energy content of the fuel (measured in euros per gigajoule) and not on its volume.

Currently, the minimum rates are measured in euros per liter of fuel, to the advantage of diesel or petrol at the expense of biofuels, as these have a lower energy content per liter, a “hidden advantage” that will disappear with the new system.

Brussels also proposes to raise the minimum rates for fossil fuels. These will increase with the entry into force of the new directive, scheduled for 2023, and then gradually increase until 2033, when the transitional period for its application ends.

According to the forecasts of the European Commission, the minimum taxation on petrol would go from the current 359 euros per thousand liters to 385 in 2023 to reach 443 in 2033.. Taxation on diesel would go from 330 euros (per thousand liters) to 419 in 2023 to 482 in 2033. Taxation on kerosene would go from current zero to 468 (per thousand liters) in 2033. On the contrary, taxation on electricity would be reduced : from the current one euro for 0.5 Mwh to 0.58 euro in 2023 and 0.67 in 2033.

The kerosene tax, defended by some EU countries, is rejected by the aviation sector, which believes it will not reduce emissions from long-term flights or encourage large-scale production of alternative fuels and reduce the competitiveness of the industry European.

What makes the Member States turn up their noses, with whom the Commission will now have to negotiate the ‘Fit for 55’, is the Effort Sharing Regulation which assigns each Member State strengthened emission reduction targets for buildings, transport road and inland shipping, agriculture, waste and small industries.

These targets, taking into account the different starting situations and the different capacities of each Member State, are based on their per capita GDP, with adjustments to take into account cost efficiency. For Italy this is a not insignificant step: so far the objective it had was a reduction of 33% (by 2030), now it has been increased to 43.7%. Finally, the Renewable Energy Directive sets the most ambitious goal of producing 40% of EU energy from renewable sources by 2030.



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