EU’s Green Transition Gains Momentum, But Speed Needs to Accelerate, Climate Report Warns

The European Union’s transition to a climate-neutral society is gaining momentum in key sectors, but progress still needs to accelerate, according to the latest report from the European Climate Neutrality Observatory (ECNO). The independent net zero monitor’s second comprehensive check of the EU’s progress towards climate neutrality shows promising progress in key sectors and cross-cutting areas but warns that more action is needed to meet the 2050 target.

The report highlights positive trends in electricity generation, industry, and clean technology, with specific indicators showing improvement compared to last year. Employment in regions most affected by the transition is at its highest on record, with almost 1.7 million people now working in the renewable energy sector. This provides promising signs for the just transition in the future.

However, the report also identifies areas where progress is lagging. The agrifood and buildings sectors, as well as road transport emissions, require more action. The report calls for an urgent U-turn in finance and carbon dioxide removals. The response to the 2022-23 energy crisis has led to an increase in fossil fuel subsidies, and the rate of carbon dioxide removal has declined due to a slowdown in forest restoration and new plantings.

In the wake of the recent EU elections, ECNO experts urge strong implementation of recently agreed EU policies at the Member State level across all areas to accelerate progress. They warn that backsliding, delaying or watering down policy action and implementation could harm public confidence in the transition and weaken the EU’s ability to deliver on broader social equity goals.

“The climate transition is gaining momentum in key areas, but we need to pick up the pace,” said Aleksander Śniegocki, co-author of the report and Chief Executive Officer at Reform Institute, an ECNO consortium member. “Harmonised action and EU-wide cooperation in implementing EU Green Deal policies across the Union will be critical in this new legislative cycle to ensure we can reap the full benefits of the green transition.”

The report serves as a call to action for EU member states to strengthen their efforts in the fight against climate change, with a focus on areas where progress has been slow. Despite the challenges, the report also highlights the opportunities that the green transition presents for job creation and economic growth.