Englobing every politics, such as energy, transports, environment, biodiversity and air quality, Brussels wants the European continent to be the first to achieve carbon-neutrality in 2050. However, such a drastic politic involves challenges in many fields, such as tourism industry.
Considering human impact on Earth and its environment, governments must reinforce sustainable development’s politics. For future generations and us, it’s necessary to change our consumption habits.
Following Paris agreement on climate change in 2015, The Green Deal of Europe was first introduced on December 11th, 2019. Establishing a long-term strategy, The Commission has notably stated to "increase the EU’s greenhouse gas emission reductions target for 2030 to at least 50% and towards 55% compared with 1990 levels in a responsible way".
Being a key part of her program, European commission’s president Ursula von der Leyen placed herself as the figurehead of the ecological transition of Europe: "In July, immediately after my appointment, I placed climate action at the heart of my political agenda. With your vote, you endorsed that agenda."
But an unexpected event occurred, bringing Europe on its knees. The pandemic has not only put countries in debt, it also has changed people habits, questioning the validity of The Green Deal, considering the state of the Union.
Despite this, Brussels chose to maintain its program. “The European Green Deal is our blueprint to make that transformation”, said president Ursula von der Leyen.
In term of tourism and transports, the Deal will bring many transformations and will help accelerating the transition to an eco-friendlier tourism. But it also brings its share of challenges for the professionals of our industry.
On July 14th, The European Commission has presented twelve texts aimed at reducing the continent's greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990, measures that will be the subject of at least one year of tough discussions.
For example, the EU proposed to tax kerosene starting in 2023 for flights in its zone, imposing in addition a minimal rate of biofuel. Adding the fact that it could create an imbalance with the international competition for European companies, it can be considered that consumers could also be impacted. To balance increased costs, airlines would have to sell more expensive tickets, causing a decrease in the number of travellers and making an entire market to collapse.
Also, even if alternatives are being developed, these should come into effect only in 2035, leaving kerosene as the most cost-effective fuel for the time being. Bio carburants are also not always ecological, needing extensive fields to cultivate vegetables destined to be transformed into fuel, even more when they cause deforestation, transport, etc. However, a second generation of fuel is being developed, produced from waste. Currently, conventional fuels still account for at least half of the tank. Bio carburants are more expensive to, two to four times more than kerosene.
But the industry needs to be modernized. Airline traffic has a big impact on global warming. The depletion of natural resources will make traditional fuel less and less viable. Also, consumers tend to be more eco-responsible and concerned about their future, as we can see with many events such as climate marches.
So, even if we can’t be sure about its target date, The Green Deal is greatly needed for Europe and for the world. With this, the old continent can be an example in sustainable development.