“My vision of Europe in 2050”
By 2050, members have lost faith in the EU. Mediterranean countries are suffering from more erratic and extreme temperatures, forest fires and droughts, whilst the Alps are melting at an even more concerning rate than ever before. In fact, according to WHO/Europe, it’s predicted that the death toll for climate change between 2030-50 will be 250,000 additional deaths per year— not just due to more frequent and extreme weather patterns such as heavy precipitation and rising sea levels, but the actual health risks produced and worsened by the constant use of fossil fuels (leading to large emissions of greenhouse gases), supported by a UNFCCC’s report on disease rate increasing with temperature. Fundamentally, despite numerous countries using renewable energy sources such as Finland, Denmark etc., not all European members are performing equally in achieving their energy consumption target (at least since 2017)— including the Netherlands, France, Ireland & the UK as well as Luxembourg being 8.2, 7.8, 6.8 and 6% away from their national 2020 targets, respectively. That gives less than a year left to achieve this. Moreover, countries that are actually more economically developed than the rest of the world (e.g. the Netherlands, Ireland) — ergo producing more pollution — are still significantly behind in their aims to reduce carbon emissions; hence I believe that Europe should focus on climate change mitigation as these actions will benefit Europe as a whole.
Europe is already progressing, having 11 members of the EU already achieving their 2020 targets; however, if we want maximised results we should prioritize mitigation and enforce this policy to other European countries for additional efforts. With mitigation, not only would serious health problems triggered by ozone pollution levels be prevented, but several unnecessary and unfortunate deaths (examples including UK’s 2018 heatwave which caused hundreds of deaths, being made 30 times more likely by human-caused climate change, and Russia’s hottest summer of 2010, resulting in 55,000 deaths and $15 billion). Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Europe would save its ecosystems and biodiversity, improve the general health of the continent and also bring immense economic benefits, one of the five main areas of the Europe 2020 Strategy (employment). According to WEB, it “generates 3 times the more jobs as the same level of spending in fossil fuels, greater earnings and higher output”; a positive example would be Iceland, being 8th most economically developed country whilst being the industrialized country producing the lowest amount of pollution, furthermore having an unemployment rate under 2%.
My vision of Europe in 2050 is European countries working together with interests aside to prioritize climate change mitigation, and whilst doing so protecting smaller, more susceptible areas with domestic policies for climate adaptation. Not only would this action have long-term effects (delaying and alleviating the effects of climate change) but would influence other countries outside the continent to follow suit and take part in this global matter and would therefore be an attempt to stop humans from worsening the Earth’s condition.
“My vision of Europe in 2050”