The European Commission will brief the global boating industry on its new climate strategy at this year’s show

The European Commission will use this year’s Boot Düsseldorf, opening this weekend, to brief the global boating industry on its ambitious strategy to make the 27-nation EU climate-neutral by 2050.

The new EU executive took office for five years on January 1. It says its initiative is Europe’s “man on the moon moment” and will leave no sector unaffected.

Making Europe “climate-neutral” means no more greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 beyond what can be absorbed. The aim is to craft a clean, circular economy, improve biodiversity, cut pollution and enact an EU Climate Law to deliver the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

In March, the EU executive will roll out the first legislative proposals to force EU governments and industries to accept stricter environmental rules and conditions.

These won’t spare Europe’s boating sector and its 280,000 builders, engine and equipment makers and trade and service providers. The Brussels-based European Boating Industry (EBI) lobby says it will provide input into climate change actions. EBI members are key beneficiaries of a cleaner environment and healthier oceans.

At Boot Düsseldorf’s January 21 International Breakfast Meeting, EU officials will outline the ambition of its strategy. Some of what lies ahead:

  • EU governments, companies and homeowners will have to make public and private facilities climate-proof
  • The EU economy must become circular through smarter design, more recycling and switching to clean power technologies. Currently, European industry only uses 12% recycled materials
  • The European Commission will draft a Climate Law to turn “the political commitment into legal obligation”. It will earmark €10bn for innovative climate-neutral investments
  • EU lawmaking will take a ‘zero-pollution approach’ in all policy areas. A new EU chemicals strategy will prioritise sustainability
  • Europe’s inland waterways must be used more for transport. The EU will step up protection of habitats and species and nudge the IMO to be more active in reversing climate change

The launch of the climate-change strategy follows a recent finding that Europe won’t achieve its 2030 goals without urgent action on “the alarming rate of biodiversity loss, increasing impacts of climate change and overconsumption of natural resources.”

The climate strategy is a flagship project of the new EU executive. It contrasts with the aloofness of the current US administration toward climate change.

The EU says 93% of Europeans see climate change as a problem, and 79% see fighting it will stoke innovation, jobs and growth. Resistance to the climate change strategy is most evident in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

“The cost of the transition will be big, but the cost of non-action will be much bigger,” says European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.