The European Union has unveiled a Green Deal that will combat climate change directly to adjust the economy in order to neutralize Europe’s carbon footprint by as early as 2050. While the plan is ambitious, it highlights the need for world leaders to work together to fight against climate change once and for all.

The Green Deal encompasses everything from plastic bans and new regulations on agriculture and consumer goods, to tightening restrictions on carbon emitting industries like oil and gas, while limiting trade deals with countries that are not part of the Paris Agreement. Europe is already leading the world in climate change efforts, and the Green Deal will jump start its position as one of the greatest initiatives for climate change thus far.

The ultimate goal for the Green Deal is to create a global response, particularly with the looming threat of trade embargo’s and restrictions on trade with countries that are not making an effort to combat climate change. This turns attention toward places like the United States, which withdrew from the Paris Agreement in a controversial move by President Donald Trump in 2017.

In other countries, particularly in places like Indonesia and throughout the undeveloped world, infrastructure for the level of change that is needed has not been set up. Things like adequate waste management and access to clean drinking water mean that beaches and oceans are often littered with plastics, while carbon emissions are high due to a lack of regulations (though these numbers are in-line with emissions from more developed countries as well).

The Green Deal – Details

The new Green Deal that was unveiled at the annual climate conference in Madrid earlier this month will unite most European countries to neutralize carbon emissions by 2050. The union hopes to reach this goal by focusing its efforts on investing in industries that want to cut their emissions significantly. This means new innovations for the steel industries, as well as vehicle and renewable energy.

These new laws could also see tighter restrictions on goods that are imported from places that don’t put heavy restrictions on carbon emissions. Places like China, which are leading suppliers of consumer goods worldwide, are also one of the biggest carbon emissions culprits in the world. The EU hopes to use its Green Deal restrictions to incentivize other countries to make smarter decisions toward combating climate change.

The reality of this Green Deal is that many transportation and shipping companies will have to acquire special permits in order to operate within the EU. Maritime shipping companies, for example, will likely need to register their vessels and acquire permits in order to dock. The EU could limit how many vessels are allowed to operate in an effort to cut back on carbon emissions.

But the new Green Deal does not stop there. The EU also plans to invest greater efforts into plants and the preservation of nature. Initiatives to plant more trees and stop deforestation throughout Europe will begin in the near future. Recently, the EU banned all pesticides that could negatively impact native bee populations. Meanwhile in Germany, the country is working to convert its local train operations to more eco-friendly options than coal burning.

In France, the country’s recent single-use plastic ban will see a significant change in consumer habits over the next couple of decades. By 2025, the country hopes to use at least 60% biodegradable materials instead of plastics. Europe may be ahead of the curve when it comes to adjustments for climate change, but it hopes to begin a domino effect around the world by putting pressure on world governments to unite for a greater cause.