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Hoekstra presents new EU climate targets

Before the next vote
Hoekstra presents new EU climate targets

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The designated EU climate commissioner, Wopke Hoekstra, is controversial. Opponents accuse him of lacking competence and vision. Now the Dutchman has spoken out with concrete plans. It will be seen on Thursday whether this will convince the members of the EU Parliament.

According to the designated EU Climate Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra, the EU must save the majority of its greenhouse gases over the next 15 years. There are scientific recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 90 percent by 2040 compared to 1990, he said at a hearing in the European Parliament’s Environment Committee.

“I will use all available instruments to enable the EU to achieve the recommended minimum target of 90 percent net reductions,” said the Dutchman. The Christian Democrat Hoekstra is to become the EU Commission’s new climate commissioner. But first he has to convince the members of the EU Parliament. A final vote by the entire plenary session is scheduled for Thursday. Immediately after the hearing on Monday evening, the chairmen of the committees and representatives of the political groups in the committees negotiated late into the night behind closed doors about how they would assess Hoekstra’s performance.

Does Hoekstra take climate protection seriously enough?

Hoekstra is controversial both in his own country and in Brussels and his qualifications for the post are highly doubted. The qualified lawyer worked for the oil company Shell for several years, also in Berlin and Hamburg. He later worked as a manager at the management consultancy McKinsey. During the corona pandemic, as finance minister, he awarded billions in aid to the airline KLM. Hoekstra promised at the parliamentary hearing: “I will be guided by facts, figures and science.”

The CDU climate politician Peter Liese emphasized before the hearing that many commissioners had no prior experience in their dossier. You don’t need 20 years of experience in climate policy to be a successful climate commissioner. He also pointed out that Hoekstra had already supported ambitious climate goals as part of the Dutch government in 2018.

Hoekstra: “It won’t stay the way it was”

Hoekstra told the hearing there was no escape from the transition to a low-carbon economy for any sector. This applies to industry, citizens, shipping, aviation and also to agriculture. “It will not stay the way it was, the way we farm today,” said the Commissioner-designate.

A vote in the plenary session will only take place on Thursday if at least two thirds of the committee members are in favor of the candidate. If this is not the case, the committees may request additional information. If this is still not enough to convince the MPs, a final step can be to request a new hearing.

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