The European Union rolled out an ambitious climate plan to transform every corner of its economy on Wednesday and braced for years of tough negotiations to turn it into reality.
Every industry will be forced to accelerate its shift away from fossil fuels in order to cut pollution by at least 55% from 1990 levels by 2030.
To achieve that, the bloc will bring new industries such as shipping into what’s already the world’s largest carbon market; ban new combustion-engine cars by 2035; impose new costs on dirty home heating; and force the aviation industry to emit less and pay more.
As the bloc seeks to position itself as a global leader on climate, it also sets out a blueprint for a levy on imports such as steel and aluminum from nations with softer environmental rules. That risks stoking trade tensions, with Russia, China, and the U.S. in the EU’s sights.
There are already signs of discontent, from both EU members and industry.“
Nothing we presented today is going to be easy. It’s going to be bloody hard,” European Commission climate chief Frans Timmermans said.
But he said the “existential threat which is the climate crisis” called for radical steps. He expects measures on transport, cars and home heating to cause the most complaints.
In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government — already embroiled in a standoff with Brussels over an LGBTQ crackdown — flatly rejected the plan, saying it threatened to undo its signature utility price cuts.
“The European Commission’s choice of tools is untenable and unacceptable because it would lead to taxes on real estate and cars instead of making polluters pay,” Cabinet Minister Gergely Gulyas told reporters in Budapest on Thursday.
“This would also destroy the results of utility price cuts. Therefore, this proposal is unacceptable for Hungary in its current shape, and since unanimity is required the EU can’t implement this proposal.”
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