People Before Profit TD and candidate for Dublin in the upcoming European elections, Bríd Smith, has slammed the watering down of the EU’s Green Deal. She noted that the emphasis on carbon capture and storage in the new version of the plan meant that meaningful reductions in the EU’s carbon emissions was little more than a “pipe dream”.
Commentary on the most recent EU climate plan has focused on the call to reduce carbon emissions by 90% by 2050. However there has been little detailed analysis on how this is to be achieved.
Bríd Smith TD said: “The EU talks the talk, presenting itself as a moral leader on climate change, but behind the PR wrapping there is a darker side of concessions to business interests.
The EU Commissioner, Wopke Hoekstra, has openly stated that the EU’s climate ambitions must not interfere with “making sure our businesses stay competitive”.
Hoekstra began his career at Shell and worked for 11 years at the McKinsey consultancy company that has represented fossil fuel interests.
It is, therefore, no surprise that the EU’s plan places a major emphasis on carbon capture and storage. This has become the main greenwashing tactic of the fossil fuel industry. It is a pipe dream to suggest that we can achieve our climate goals with policies based on carbon capture and storage.
Yet Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is an untested technology. In its current capacity, it is only responsible for a 0.1% reduction in global annual emissions. 81% of carbon captured to date has been used to extract more oil via the process of Enhanced Oil Recovery. This means CCS is being predominantly used for carbon-emitting oil extraction that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible.
Promises of a 30% reduction in agricultural pollution between 2015 and 2024 have been dropped.
A real policy for climate reduction would make a distinction between the large agri-business and small farmers. It would significantly reduce CAP subsidies for big farmers and agri-business and use the money saved to subsidize small farmers who set aside 4% of their land for non-productive purposes.
As long as the EU embraces neoliberal measures which help business profitability, its talk about achieving climate targets will remain aspirational.
The EU could, for example, stop funding wars in Ukraine and transfer money to investment in free public transport across the continent.”