Climate change and environmental dangers have been widely discussed issues since the beginning of the last century, yet many countries had not taken a solid position on the matters.
The Paris Agreement was one of the biggest steps taken by the most influential countries as it is an agreement within the United Nations on climate change mitigation, signed in 2016. However, signing this agreement didn’t change much for many countries.
Donald Trump, former president of the U.S., took his country out of the agreement, putting the entire world at risk. It was Joe Biden who restored America’s interest in being part of the Paris agreement in January 2021, after being elected as the president. Climate change was in fact one of the first matters Biden chose to deal with as soon as he was elected. He signed “a battery of executive orders” as reported by The Guardian, with the aim to put an end to all oil and gas drilling on federal land, eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and equip the government with electric vehicles.
Countries like England, Ireland and Norway have set the goal to allow only electric vehicles within the next ten years. Hybrid cars will also be banned, so only electric or hydrogen-powered cars will be allowed. In January 2021 Boris Johnson promised to make the United Kingdom carbon neutral by 2050. Johnson then financed a project that aims to construct the biggest eolic park in the world on United Kingdom land.
In the last two years, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen put a lot of emphasis on the importance of the Green Deal for Europe. The Green Deal is intended as a set of policies European countries must adhere to in order to confront the present climate and ecological emergencies. Every “Green Deal” must live up to ten basic pillars in order to be defined a Green Deal.
- Countries must limit the rise of temperatures to 1.5 °C. This is a necessary step to construct a new economy that respects the planet and restores natural habitats.
- Public institutions must be the main forces of the economic transformation. The cost of the transition should not impact citizens.
- Citizens and local communities should be empowered to make changes with regards to the Green Deal.
- The investments in the Green Deal must make sure every European citizen must be offered a decent job.
- The Green Deal must rise the quality of life in the whole continent, reshaping the way countries think about health, education, arts and culture.
- The Green Deal must finance equality and build a new society based on solidarity.
- The Green Deal has to invest in the future, particularly on new technologies.
- GDP must not be considered the only measure of progress. The Green Deal must create new parameters for measuring growth: health, happiness and environment.
- Europe must support other countries all around the world in establishing climate justice.
- The Green Deal is not to be considered a treaty. It must be seen as a set of practical actions oriented towards precise goals.
According to the International Union for Nature Preservation, the Mediterranean Sea is polluted with more than 229 thousands of plastics every year, with Italy and Egypt being the two countries responsible for most of the damage. In order to combat this phenomenon, on February 1, 2021, Italy introduced an “anti-pollution naval fleet”. The fleet will monitor and the amount of waste in the Mediterranean and collect the plastic on rivers’ mouths and in the open sea. As of now, the fleet counts only 32 specialized vessels, but it represents a good beginning in the process of acknowledging the problem of plastic pollution.
It looks like 2021 might be a good year for rebirth, assuming the world’s leaders don’t put egocentric economic growth before our planet’s well-being once again.