Pending EU Climate / Green Policy Leadership Will Need Industry Support.

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Former Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra and third term EU comissioner Maros Sefcovic have secured the required approval from lawmakers representing at least two-thirds of the European Parliament's environment committee in their bid to lead the EU's climate change and overall green policymaking. Both candidates will need - and are expected to receive - formal approval from a majority of the full EU Parliament in a vote on Thursday.

If confirmed, Hoekstra and Sefcovic will have to work to finalize Europe's climate and green policy agenda amidst pressure from left/green leaning groups who point to recent extreeme weather across Europe as an urgent example of the costs of inaction - and pushback from right-leaning and certain consumer and industrial groups concerned with near-term transition costs in light of current energy and economic headwinds.

Hoekstra, who previously worked at McKinsey and for Shell, will be tasked with charting a path to the bloc’s 2040 emissions reduction target, which the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change has proposed be set at 90-95% compared to 1990 levels . European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has called for "an even more intensive dialogue with industry" and tasked Hoekstra with investigating expanded use of carbon capture technologies to help reach such goals.

Sefcovic would take the seat that was previously held by Frans Timmermans, who was close to and often had similar messaging as U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry. However Sefcovic is seen as closer to industry than Timmermans, with lobbying group BusinessEurope voicing support for his "strong focus on industry."

Major european insurers continue to advance decarbonization in their investment and underwriting portfolios aiming for net zero by 2050, though they too have had to temper their strategies to account for political and legal risk, most notably pulling out of collective action under the UN-backed Net Zero Insurance Alliance after US republican leadership raised antitrust concerns.

image: Cristian Lue