Let´s take the climate revolution to the next level! Since the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, the shift towards a more desirable, climate-responsible world has already started - but it needs to be much faster and bolder. Volt supports progressive policies that are taking the climate revolution to the next stage: at the local, European and global level! Human-caused climate change is a very serious threat to future generations, and we cannot wait for others to solve the problem for us.
What would we do first?
Introduce an EU-wide Carbon Tax and cut off all current fossil fuel subsidies (e.g., on kerosene, diesel, coal)!
What is going on?
The unsustainable use of natural resources and the effects of climate change threaten the wellbeing of communities all over the world, Europe included. Without stronger commitments and actions, we will fail to achieve the targets set by the Paris Climate Agreement and suffer from disastrous consequences such as environmental degradation, resource depletion and human rights violations, to name a few.
What’s our vision?
We want to live in a world where living sustainably is rewarded and climate responsibility is part of the solution and not part of the problem. We want to live in a world in which individuals, corporations and public entities care for the future of our planet. Economic profit and growth should not prevail over the well-being of people and over the environment. We want to tackle the climate challenges together, in a harmonised way and on every level. Europe should become a real leader in climate change action!
How do we get there?
The problem is structural and needs to be answered in a systemic way by taking bold and comprehensive steps:
- Introduce a EU-wide Carbon Tax and cut off all current fossil fuel subsidies (e.g. kerosene, diesel, coal). Reducing CO2 emissions must be a high priority, which is why Volt argues for an EU-wide Carbon Tax. This will result in clear incentives for climate-friendly solutions, and will discourage the production and consumption of carbon-intensive products. Additionally, it will lead to a more sustainable and climate responsible production and consumption. In practice, a carbon tax would favour renewable energy over fossil fuels, and public transport over private cars. The tax needs to be carefully designed to make sure that no-one is unduly burdened, for example by keeping transport and energy costs affordable for low income groups. Subsidies on fossil fuel (currently amounting to as much as €200 billion per year) need to be phased out as quickly and as efficiently as possible. The tax revenue and the cost savings from the reduced subsidies will be utilized directly to fund relevant climate mitigation and adaptation projects. To avoid penalysing the European industry, the carbon tax will also be applied to imports from outside the EU.
- Develop smart electricity grids at the European level. Moving towards renewable energies means that energy systems will rely more and more on volatile electricity generation. To ensure a stable and clean energy system, we need to integrate electric storage systems more efficiently – such as batteries, compressed air reservoirs or power to gas systems (P2G) – in our grids. An EU-wide infrastructure of high voltage “electricity-motorways” and storage systems should be introduced and funded by the EU budget.
- Create training schemes for responsible public financing, divestment & thorough involvement of the finance sector into the climate revolution. Institutional investors and the financial sector need to be incentivised to shift resources away from fossil fuels towards climate friendly solutions (see the experience of Norway). All public administrations, pension funds etc. need to gradually take their funds out of fossil fuels. Research, training and capacity-building programs for investors and business professionals need to follow.
- Make emission-free and shared mobility attractive. The transportation systems in Europe shall be modernised, both for short and long-distances. Locally, sustainable public transport holds great potential to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Volt is in favour of policies that promote bicycle-friendly and emission-free zones in city centres, as well as free public parking slots for emission-free cars. Volt supports all measures and initiatives that encourage consumers to choose sustainable means of transportation and reduce their carbon footprint.
- Promote low carbon and disruptive technologies. R&D needs to be stimulated with new low carbon technologies, such as sustainable chemistry concepts and bio-based solutions. Innovative business models need to be incentivised. Green public procurement standards will help accelerate the adoption of low carbon technologies and set an example.
- Let's modernise our buildings. We need cost-effective energy efficiency measures, as well as building standards, that promote integration of renewable energy generation into the design. This will incentivise a shift towards carbon-neutrality in the building industry. Volt will develop coherent European Action Plans for the Modernisation of Private Houses and Urban Spaces.
- Let's reform the European agricultural sector and say NO to European subsidies for industrial livestock farming. This will be complemented by incentives for more sustainable food production techniques and for the protection of biodiversity, as well as campaigns on environmentally friendly food consumption.