Between a Hot and a Hard Place
The EU Commission’s move to adopt the so called ‘climate law’ has been met with criticisms from, well, everyone. The law in question means the European Union as a whole will need to be climate neutral by 2050, and because it is a law, the EU Commission can reprimand Member states if they don’t make enough of an effort.
Of course, the sort of EU citizen who feels their passport needs to be blue and their breakfast English was not going to be impressed with any more ‘EU telling them what to do’ stuff. And from the continental eurosceptics the response has been equally predictable; ranging from ‘over our dead body’, ‘climate change is a hoax’ to ‘the EU killed Jeffrey Epstein’.
What is Surprising, is that even the pro-climate crowd has their schoolbags in a twist over the Commission’s proposal. Greta Thunberg sat next to Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen when she presented the plan to the European Parliament, and she wasn’t impressed. In fact, somewhere between break time and show and tell, she held a speech saying the EU commission is complacent and ‘waiting while their house is on fire’.
This puts the Commission in a familiar position; the only one looking for solutions, hated by everyone. To continue Greta’s burning house analogy; the Eurosceptics are lighting a cigar, Greta’s shouting about all the fires in the world and the Commission’s proposing to build a new fire station. It’s better than nothing, could be more ambitious, but if they start spraying water now the cigar crowd will throw a hissy fit.
This presents a real issue for the EU. Later in the year the 2020 UN climate change conference is taking place in Glasgow (an appropriate location to show what the world will look like once it’s gone down), and without this plan going through the Council and the Parliament, the EU will be a laughing stock.
Be too ambitious, by shortening the timescale to 2030, and Victor Orban’s head will explode. Be too cavalier, by turning the law into a suggestion, and Greta will never see the inside of a school again.
Perhaps the fact that no one likes it, means it will pass in time – although this could further add to calls for the EU to leave the neighbourhood altogether.