Sustainability Blog

Green Deal – Global Dealing

By Apurva Gosalia - Jul 29, 2021

I don’t want to sound like a scratched record but we must keep talking about Earth Overshoot Day, which is today. There are measures being taken around the world to push this day ever-further toward the end of each year, and there is one measure I think has the realistic capability to achieve this goal.

In a previous post, I promised to describe the word “green” in five different aspects, where it is sometimes correctly used and sometimes misused by companies, associations and institutions when they refer to things as being sustainable, environmentally friendly or “bio-based.” All this does is to make something very serious lose its potency.

Having explained the proper usage of “green” in the term greenhouse gas emissions, today it’s about the Green Deal. But even this phrase is getting a little worn around the edges. It’s been used in the past several times in several contexts. Since the early 2000s, and especially from 2018, proposals for various Green Deals have emerged in the United States and internationally.

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In 2006, the Green New Deal group in the United States began calling for public policy to address climate change and achieve other social goods such as creating jobs and reducing economic inequality. Of course, the name harks back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, a Great Depression-busting super program of social and economic reforms and vast public works projects. The Green New Deal combines Roosevelt’s economic approach with renewable energy and resource efficiency. It was picked up by Democrats in 2018, especially Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

This approach was subsequently taken up in 2008 by the U.K.’s Green New Deal Group and given wider exposure when the United Nations Environment Programme began to promote it. Green Deal was the name of a short-lived U.K. scheme to help homeowners, landlords and tenants pay for energy efficient home improvements through savings on their energy bills. Between 2012 and 2015, a paltry 1,754 householders signed up, and it was scrapped to save taxpayer money.

On continental Europe, the European Spring coalition campaigned under the banner of a “Green New Deal” in the 2019 EU elections. In December 2019, the newly elected European Commission under Von der Leyen presented a set of policy proposals under the name European Green Deal, with an aim of carbon neutrality across the continent until 2050.

On July 14 this year, the European Commission adopted a series of legislative proposals setting out how it intends to achieve climate neutrality across the bloc by 2050, including the intermediate target of an at least 55% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Alongside reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the EU is also taking action to adapt to the impacts of climate change. By 2050, Europe aims to be a climate-resilient society.

The EU, however, represents less than 10% of global emissions, so European action alone will not be enough to slow global warming.

“To keep the increase in global temperature as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible, we must support decarbonization efforts beyond our borders. That is why we need a Global Green Deal,” President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen wrote back in March.

To achieve a Global Green Deal, the most advanced clean technologies must be embraced everywhere. Europe plans to invest in everything from green electrification programs in Africa and industrial decarbonization projects in Asia to battery deployment in Latin America. As a group of countries representing half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions have already adopted “net-zero” targets, they will all need European technology and investment to get there.

“We need to embrace the idea of a circular economy. As matters stand, we are taking more out of our planet than it can afford to give us, and the effects of this overreach will become increasingly dramatic and destructive with each passing year. We must urgently reduce the environmental and carbon footprint of the goods we consume.” von der Leyen further wrote in the article. A direct reference to today’s Earth Overshoot Day, in my opinion.

“We all must come together – not just governments but also businesses, cities, financial institutions, and civil society – to confront the climate challenge. Europe has the tools, the skills, and the knowledge to lead by example. We must translate our climate-policy leadership into market leadership to secure a Global Green Deal,” von der Leyen concluded her article.

If the concept of a Global Green Deal must be a joint approach, then it must be broken down so that every industrial sector can contribute to it globally. For the lubricants industry, this would mean that at some point in time – sooner rather than later – the three regional lube industry associations, UEIL, ILMA and ALIA, must join forces to work out a global sustainability strategy and climate neutrality plan for the global lubricants industry together.

I think that a Green Deal requires Global Dealing!

Stay Sustainable!

Comments

1 reply on “Green Deal – Global Dealing”

Thank you for your comment. I think with all things related to carbon neutrality and sustainability, we should look at a variety of solutions and using higher-spec base oils could be one of them.

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