Europe should rally behind just transition – chancellor Scholz
Clean Energy Wire
European governments must ensure that no one is left behind during the move towards a climate-neutral future, said German chancellor Olaf Scholz in a speech in the European Parliament, calling the transition “probably the biggest task lying ahead” for the EU. “Ambitiously shaping this transformation while leaving no one behind is the great project for the future behind which we Europeans should now rally,” said Scholz in Strasbourg. Citizens had to “feel the opportunities in their day-to-day lives,” for example through more and cheaper renewable electricity or better future-proof jobs. Politicians such as Martin Schirdewan from the Left group in the European Parliament (GUE/NGL) criticised Scholz’s speech for lacking tangible proposals, for example on how to improve citizens’ lives. Schirdewan said Scholz could have used this moment to “announce a climate policy which does not allow rich people to continue to pollute the climate with their private jets and yachts, while people with less money have to fear whether they can still turn on their heaters.”
The European Parliament invited the chancellor to share his “views and solutions to the challenges facing Europe" as part of its “This is Europe” debate series with European leaders. In the past, discussions on a just transition focussed on how certain regions and societal groups, such as coal workers in mining regions in Poland and Germany, would be affected. As the transition progresses, the wider population increasingly feels changes and worries about negative consequences, such as costs of switching to climate-friendly heating or to electric cars. The social aspects of transition policy to reach climate neutrality are set to play a major role in campaigns across the EU ahead of the European elections 2024.