The EUropean Dimension of Green Transformations
Against the backdrop of the climate crisis and increasing political pressure, many European countries aim towards net zero transitions (NZT; i.e. economies with net zero greenhouse gas emissions). With its European Green Deal (EGD) presented in December 2019, the European Union has also adopted an NZT strategy to turn the EU into the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Irrespective of the partially sharp criticism of the EGD (as not far-reaching enough, too one-sided, too growth-focused, too technocratic), its instruments – both those already in force and those planned – require comprehensive transformations of production and consumption systems in the member states. These include, in addition to the recently reformed and substantially expanded emissions trading, among others, the switch to low-carbon technologies and the promotion of renewable energies, which requires a reorientation of energy production and infrastructure. Furthermore, the EGD requires a shift to sustainable transport systems, which includes the expansion of public transport, the use of low-emission vehicles and the expansion of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Furthermore, adjustments in the agricultural sector will also be necessary.
The working group aims to address the economic, political and social dimensions of the European EGD from an economic, sociological and political science perspective. Its focus is on the European dimension of an NZT and the related social consequences. In addition, NZT efforts in the EU member states will be examined from a comparative perspective. In doing so, different methods of data collection and analysis will be combined (e.g. qualitative case studies, econometric approaches). A special focus in the working group lies on interdisciplinary research.