This week in Say More, PS talks with Connie Hedegaard, former European Commissioner for Climate Action, and Minister for the Environment and Minister for Climate and Energy for Denmark.
Project Syndicate: Last year, you argued that “if we are to have any chance of avoiding the worst consequences of climate change, Europe must take the wheel – and hit the accelerator.” With the European Green Deal, it seems to be attempting to do just that. As European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen put it in her recent State of the Union address, to fulfill its “mission to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050,” Europe will “need to go faster and do things better.” Does the European Green Deal’s content back this ambition?
Connie Hedegaard: I think that the intention behind the European Green Deal is clear. So is the direction: the green transition must be integrated into all major economic decisions and investments in Europe. It is thus effectively backed by the full €750 billion ($887 billion) that has been allocated for the COVID-19 recovery effort.
But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So the big test will be whether the EU institutions will actually manage to enforce their good intentions. For example, when member states request their respective shares of that €750 billion package, will the European Commission hold fast to its principles, insisting that at least most of their spending is in line with Europe’s green ambitions?
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We ask all our Say More contributors to tell our readers about a few books that have impressed them recently. Here are Hedegaard's picks:
by Roman Krznaric
The title of this book says it all. Krznaric offers six methods for expanding our time horizons, so that we can confront the long-term challenges we face, such as the climate crisis. I strongly recommend it.
by David Grossman
This novel – one of the best I have read the last decade – stays with you long after you turn the final page. It is about love; it is about war; it is about family; it is about life. And it is extremely well written, by an Israeli author who himself lost a son to war.
From the PS Archive
Hedegaard condemns governments’ self-defeating energy policies, which subsidize the polluters and fail adequately to invest in renewables. Read more.
Hedegaard urges Europeans to embrace the green transition as the basis of a new shared narrative. Read more.
Around the web
In a 2018 interview with Sustain Europe, Hedegaard assessed the climate-policy status quo – and proposed ways to kick-start progress. Read the transcript.