EU row set to boil over as rich northern states face crippling £400bn bill – leaked report

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Northern EU countries will be forced to foot the bill for southern nations when, in the not so distant future, the world will suffer from catastrophic consequences of climate change. According to a report put together by Politico, and also based on a leaked report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the EU could suffer a huge economic loss because of a scale that would surpass the last and current economic crises by billions.

Unlike cyclical crises, climate deficit will occur every year.

The IPCC report calculated a loss of $300billion per year (£218billion) for Europe because of climate change between 2000 and 2015 at a 1.5C increase in temperatures.

The European Commission published a report in 2020 calculating an extra loss of €175billion per year (£150billion).

Speaking to Politico, Dara Murphy, a former Europe minister for Ireland, now a senior adviser at Rasmussen Global, a political consultancy, said: “I think this will be the greatest challenge to European Union cohesion that we’ve seen.

“Greater even than the 2008 economic challenge.”

Desmond Dinan, author of an “Ever Closer Union”, added that the economic damage “could become a structural problem for the European Union”.

The issue, he warned, will “exacerbate the north-south fault line”.

The European Commission, said Heather Grabbe, director of the Open Society European Policy Institute, has thus far failed to communicate this risk in a way that will motivate a response. It’s “a big problem,” she said, if the analysis “doesn’t get translated into the political narrative.”

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The worrying analysis comes after French President Emmanuel Macron’s government was found guilty of failing to take the appropriate measures to tackle climate change by a top French court.

In a stern ultimatum that could cause Mr Macron some headaches just a month before the next Presidential elections, the court told the French leader he must comply with the ruling before March 31, 2022.

If the French government fails to comply, then France may face hefty fines.

This ruling comes after the city of Grande-Synthe in northern France, along with environmental NGOs, filed a complaint in 2018 over insufficient climate action.

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Green MEP and former mayor of Grande-Synthe, Damien Careme, said the ruling was “historic”.

He told Politico: “For the first time in France, the judiciary forces the state to act for the climate.”

Mr Careme said similar legal actions should be encouraged in other EU countries.

Germany and the Netherlands have also been urged to take more radical decisions to combat climate change by their respective courts.

The French MEP added: “At a time when the European Commission is about to propose a revision of the legislation related to climate action in its fit for 2030 package, this ruling should give the Commission pause to think on how it must come out with proposals that are fit for the challenges ahead.”

The ruling has been dubbed “the case of the century”.

It was brought by four NGOs who accused the French state of not living up to its own commitments – including a multi-year plan to cut carbon emissions – or to the 2015 Paris Climate accord.

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