Planet over Profit? A Reality Check of Europe’s Aspirational Climate Policies
The European Green Deal (EGD) aspires to become the transformational agenda putting the European Union’s (EU’s) economies and societies firmly on the path towards sustainability. This paper casts in doubt several presumptions inherent to it, notably that Paris Agreement-compliant emission reduction trajectories are complementary to strong economic growth. Moreover, it frames some of the trade-offs that will shape the reality of the green transition in Europe and beyond, showing that meeting the environmental, social and economic objectives all at the same time is for the most part just a mirage, even if a politically expedient one. Europe’s leaders are asked to take these realities into consideration when designing EGD-related policies so as to avoid both problem shifting and raising unrealistic expectations among the public. The urgency of the crisis at our hands deserves nothing short of a sober assessment and an evidence-based response, in line with the physical realities and constraints of the world we live in.