Read the full opinion editorial originally published on the Green European Journal.
By Chiara Martinelli
With a crucial EU election only a few months away, Europe’s green agenda seems to have run out of steam. In this week’s State of the Union address, the last one under her current term in office, Ursula von der Leyen has the opportunity to relaunch the continent’s climate ambitions. Here’s what she should not forget.
It’s not just another start of the school year. We come from an unprecedented, tumultuous past few months. Over one-fifth of the people in the EU continued to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2022, energy poverty is on the rise, and high corporate-led inflation has been eroding people’s purchasing power – with more severe impacts in Central and Eastern Europe. Russia’s war in Ukraine is reinforcing these trends, and causing immense suffering and environmental damage.
Meanwhile, climate change-fueled droughts, wildfires, flooding and heatwaves have hit the continent this summer, harming its people, livelihoods, infrastructure and biodiversity. No matter where we find ourselves in the political spectrum, climate, energy and environmental crises are adversely impacting every aspect of our lives, from food price increases to destruction of life and infrastructure; from lower productivity and premature mortality to massive pressure on health systems; from water scarcity to the undermining of entire sectors of the economy.