Five Takeaways: How a ‘Greenlash’ Could Transform Europe’s Vote

Rystad Energy, a private firm that looks at energy trends, pointed out that the roughly $125 billion that the European Union has invested in clean energy technology would soon fall behind the United States.

The leading European People’s Party is claiming the Green Deal as its hallmark achievement, even as it whittles back unpopular provisions, like on farming, with an eye on the ballot box. It frames it as a way to sever Europe’s dependence on Russia. “We turned Putin’s challenge into a major new opportunity,” European Commission president, Ursula Von der Leyen, said in January.

Further on the right, the European Conservatives and Reformists party has cast some of the Green Deal’s policies — setting aside land for restoration rather than agriculture, for instance — as a culture wars issue that it says unfairly target farmers. It has promised to examine what it calls in its election manifesto the Green Deal’s “more problematic objectives.”

The Greens’s message to voters is that European businesses need a clear signal that they can compete in the green industries of the future. “These elections will determine the future of Europe’s climate policy,” Bas Eickhout, a Green party leader said by telephone. “If we stop now, it would be bad news for European industry.”

Much more renewable energy has come online, putting the European Union on track to draw 70 percent of its electricity from wind and solar by 2030, according to E3G, a research group. European law puts a price on climate pollution in several industries. And European carmakers are, albeit belatedly, going electric.

The Green Deal “has turned out to be much stronger and resilient as a political agenda then many thought it would be,” said Pieter de Pous, an analyst with E3G, “but it is also facing some formidable political opponents now, especially coming from the far right.”

Christopher Schuetze and Matina Stevis-Gridneff contributed reporting.


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