Hub 2: European Green Deal
The Green Deal Hub summarizes key messages of the following sessions:
R&I to accelerate CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION, a core pillar for matching climate targets
The clean energy transition is at the heart of tackling major global challenges like the climate crisis. The European Green Deal is an opportunity for transformation, including social and socio-economic aspects as well as technological opportunities. It was stated that policy makers are currently not doing enough to achieve the energy transition. To push energy transition there is still a need for:
- understanding the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity for system transformation
- bringing together industry, researchers and policy-makers to overcome silo thinking and to ensure holistic perspectives
- a clear focus and political will to perform the energy transition
- bringing technological solutions that are already there to political action
- addressing the whole value chain from basic research to upscaling for successful market uptake
- simplification and focus on industrial perspectives (e.g. business models, process innovation)
Building a POSTCOVID FOOD SYSTEM ECONOMY that works for people, planet and climate
Based on the recently published Farm-to-Fork Strategy the discussion was centered around the disruption of food systems through COVID 19 and the overall challenges of sustainable european and global food systems. The aim of the Green Deal to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and the change of the way we live without leaving anybody behind might cause a dilemma. To overcome this and build a postcovid food system economy the following issues are relevant:
- It is essential to invest in R&I in order to progress on finding solutions to the known problems of our food systems (including for example good practices in food taxation models)
- Key question: Is the focus on local food systems the right conclusion from COVID 19 pandemic and how important are the global food chains?
- Look at the whole food chain and different actors (e.g. farmers, consumers, retailers) and stimulate/incentivise a shift in the behaviour of consumers supported by better governmental regulations
- More education of people is crucial and therefore it is necessary to start more intensively in schools to provide easy access to sustainable and healthy food
SUSTAINABILITY by design. Embedding sustainability criteria throughout life cycle of products and processes
Introducing the session and underlining the importance of the Green Deal goal as the overall objective – transforming EUs economy towards sustainability is crucial. The Eurostat report on sustainability development in the EU has been mentioned as a treasure of data on how the EU performs in reaching the sustainability targets. Stagnation of material use rate, growth of waste generation and a slight growth of consumption of toxic chemicals were the background for this session and the idea of sustainability by design. It also includes integrating safety, circularity and functionality of materials and products. Key messages to bring forward sustainability by design:
- In order to drive R&I and application of sustainability by design a focused, coordinated and integrated policy/program approach is suggested (e.g. as US Sustainable Chemistry R&D Act)
- A clear connection to business/technology/societal needs is necessary
- Creation of a collaborative innovation community, silos must be broken up (eg in academia, government etc.)
- More radical innovative design is needed requiring fundamental research on material and processes with long term sustainability
- Improve bad image of chemists who are more problem solvers than problem makers in the context of achieving a more sustainable future (also important for stimulation of job market)
The Green Deal Hub organised a plethora of sessions on the second day of the R&I Days. We provide you with a few short reports from the Sessions our experts could attend.
The opportunity to halt BIODIVERSITY loss
After a welcome speech by Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, John Bell, Director of Healthy Planet in DG RTD, introduced the Biodiversity Strategy 2030 as part of the Green Deal. Several areas related to biodiversity are covered in Horizon Europe, such as understanding the biodiversity decline; valuing and restoring ecosystems services; nature based solutions; managing biodiversity in primary production; enabling transformative change; and biodiversity and health.
Distinguished panelists presented among others initiatives such as the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), the European partnership on biodiversity or the BIOSCAN Project.
CLEAN TRANSPORT: Acting now for a green recovery!
The session was moderated by Patric Child, Deputy Director DG RTD, and included a panel of four speakers: Alan McKinnon, University Hamburg, former chair of Transport Advisory Group; Herald Ruijters, Director DG MOVE; Gracia Vittadini, CTO of Airbus; Thierry Hours, Vice President Volvo Group. The moderator reminded that transport is very important for reaching the Green Deal targets, as it is responsible for 23% of Europe’s GHG emissions. The Green Deal is also at the heart of the Covid-19 Recovery package. One objective of Cluster 5 (Climate, Energy and Mobility) is to support the Green Deal targets.
In their speeches, the panelists emphasised that the Covid-19 crisis had a big impact on transport and transport emissions. During the lockdown, the reduction of emissions was around 30%. The crisis was a catalyst for socio-economic trends and now there is a need to recalibrate the transport models, while many unsolved issues and policy dilemmas remain. New strategies and changes for each transport mode are necessary. This reform demands a big package of measures (infrastructure, alternative fuels, green hydrogen, digitalisation, data management etc.), while other non-GHG related areas like transport safety are also important.
Horizon 2020 EUROPEAN GREEN DEAL CALL Info Day – Presentation of the Call
This session opened with a video address by Director General Jean-Eric Paquet emphasising that the Green Deal Call is not so much about finding new knowledge but rather testing and demonstrating what has been developed in Horizon 2020, while bringing a different dimension and also seeing if these solutions work for society and bringing a lot attention on social innovation.
Director John Bell, shortly described the genesis of the Green Deal Call, which originated in the Fridays4Future demonstration in Brussels: The student protesters asked the Commission to put solutions on the table. Scientists should not stay in the background, but rather develop new pathways and show how this transformation is possible and how it is anchored in our democracies, economies and communities.
Furthermore, he stressed that this Call is different. It is not like traditional framework Calls, but more focused on impact. The Call has ten priority areas, organised around the eight chapters of European Green Deal policy. Two further crosscutting areas aim at strengthening knowledge in support of the Green Deal and empowering citizens leading to social innovation and to new ways to engage civil society.
The session was followed by presentations on the evaluation process and the implementation phase of the Call by the three Executive Agencies (REA, INEA, EASME) administering the Green Deal Call.
Following this session, parallel sessions on each area of the Call were organised. These sessions will be made accessible via the Green Deal Hub page.