The European Union’s climate commissioner-designate pledged to complete the bloc’s plan to reduce emissions if he’s permanently approved for the post and vowed more ambition globally on environmental issues.
(Bloomberg) — The European Union’s climate commissioner-designate pledged to complete the bloc’s plan to reduce emissions if he’s permanently approved for the post and vowed more ambition globally on environmental issues.
“I want to assure you that continuity is in place on the entire Green Deal,” said Wopke Hoekstra, who was previously the Dutch foreign minister, at a hearing of the European Parliament’s environment committee. “In my own portfolio, I aim to swiftly conclude all pending negotiations.”
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed Hoekstra as the new commissioner in charge of climate action after his compatriot Frans Timmermans resigned last month to lead the Netherlands’ left alliance in elections. If approved by the parliament and member states, Hoekstra will oversee climate regulation to turn the Green Deal — a strategy for Europe to accelerate economy-wide pollution cuts — into reality.
His pledge comes as governments across the continent scale back plans to reduce greenhouse gases for fear of angering voters already bitter over high inflation and sluggish economic growth. The pushback occurs as the European Parliament gears up for elections in June 2024, with the Green Deal set to be one of the hottest topics in political campaigns.
If confirmed, Hoekstra will lead the bloc’s delegation to the United Nations’ COP28 climate conference in Dubai later this year. He also wants to pursue more green ambition globally, saying that he would explore measures including an international jet fuel tax, a maritime levy and a fossil fuel tax.
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