European Commission: Executive Vice President Timmermans' remarks at the Conference on the first European Climate Law

28 January 2020

Executive Vice President Timmerman explained the importance of the European climate law and its connection with the Green Deal Investment Plan and the Just Transition Mechanism at a conference on implementing the European Green Deal.

Executive Vice President Timmerman said: “Why is the climate law so important? The climate law, in my view, in simple words is important because it will discipline everyone in this process, especially on the political side, to take the necessary steps, to deliver on this promise to become climate neutral by 2050. And it will give the institutions that need to coordinate this also the legal possibility to act when those who made promises don't deliver on the promises. So it is an exercise in discipline in this transformational age.

I say this as a historian with a keen interest in studying earlier times of fundamental transformation, whether it is the introduction of coal as a basis of the economy, when we went from horses to steam engines and then went from steam engines to combustion engines, now we are going from combustion engines to other forms of energy. Transforming a society that is entirely based on carbon, to a society that no longer needs carbon as a basis for it's functioning, is of a tectonic nature. This happens at a time when digitalisation is revolutionising all sorts of structures. If we do not understand that this is not just an economic change, this is not just a change in how we produce and live, this will affect every single institution upon which society is based and that helps society function as it does. And if we do not understand that we have a collective responsibility in preparing all these institutions, to handle this and to leave no one behind and to take everyone on board, then we understand how epic this challenge is. And then we also understand that disciplining ourselves along this path to 2030, 2040, 2050, through a climate law, is essential to make sure we deliver on this and to make sure we can correct whenever necessary.”

Full speech on European Commission

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