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Europe Urged to Accelerate in the Green Tech Race, Says Spain's Climate Minister

Spain's Climate Minister urges Europe to ramp up green tech efforts, emphasizing global competitiveness and climate leadership.
June 18, 2024

Spain's Climate Minister urges Europe to ramp up green tech efforts, emphasizing global competitiveness and climate leadership.

Spain's climate and energy minister, Teresa Ribera, has called for a significant boost in European efforts to compete in the global green technology arena, stressing the need for the next European Commission to prioritize this mission. Ribera, a leading candidate for the EU’s top green policy position, emphasized the urgency of matching strides with China and the U.S. in an exclusive interview with Reuters.

As EU leaders prepare to meet in Brussels to discuss future appointments within the European Commission, Ribera highlights the critical importance of accelerating Europe's green transition. She argues against slowing down the green agenda despite the recent rise of climate policy skeptics in the European Parliament elections. Instead, she sees the green agenda as a pivotal driver for Europe's resurgence on the global stage.

"This is going to be a very critical period for Europe," Ribera said. "Either we manage to overcome all the difficulties and become a strong, positive power, or we implode."

Ribera acknowledges the increased difficulty of future climate policy-making but warns that delaying the green transition could undermine European industries and exacerbate climate impacts such as extreme droughts and heatwaves that threaten agriculture.

In response to growing global competition, particularly from China, the EU has already begun taking a tougher stance. Recent measures include imposing tariffs on Chinese electric cars and investigating Chinese subsidies for wind and solar suppliers. Ribera believes these steps are necessary but insists that more must be done to support local industries.

For Europe to regain its competitive edge, Ribera advocates for more public investment in next-generation technologies and the simplification of bureaucratic hurdles. She points out that the United States has successfully attracted global investment by investing heavily in its own green tech sector, a strategy Europe needs to emulate.

"The United States realized that they needed to invest in their own industry, attracting money and investment from all over the world - including European money," she said. "Why do we not do that in our own countries?"

One of the first tasks for the new EU Commission will be to propose a 2040 climate target to guide Europe towards its 2050 net-zero emissions goal. Ribera supports the Commission's initial suggestion of a 90% emissions reduction by 2040, with the flexibility to go further if possible.

Ribera’s vision underscores the importance of a robust green strategy to ensure Europe's position in the rapidly evolving global green tech market. Her call for action highlights the need for unified efforts and strategic investments to navigate the challenges and harness the opportunities of the green transition.

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