Romania’s declining coal industry is embracing the transition to sustainable technology to not only help the European Union (EU) meet climate change goals but also to boost the economy and build a sustainable future.
The Opportunity of the Green Deal
Last December, the EU launched the European Green Deal, which is a set of plans to make the EU climate neutral by 2050. The deal establishes meaningful changes across all aspects of society and the economy in order to make the world’s second-largest economy sustainable. The EU plans on stopping all activities that add to the earth’s greenhouse gases by 2050. To achieve this, member countries of the EU must spot alternative opportunities and embrace the changes needed to move away from old, outdated processes that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Romania has already hopped onto this shift and recognizes the value in transforming its declining and polluting coal industry into an economic hub of green energy.
Transitioning From Fossil Fuels to Renewables
EU coal regions, especially those located in South-Western Romania, are facing pressure to transition away from fossil fuel and towards an infrastructure that supports environmentally-sustainable energy sources instead. To meet the EU’s sustainable plans, the coal industry, which is one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, cannot continue to exist in its current form.
Romania’s coal-mining regions have brought both economic growth and deep socio-economic crises to many European countries. In fact, the Jiu Valley in South-Western Romania has been nicknamed the “valley of tears” due to this harsh economic downturn. While many who grew up in Romania’s coal mining communities hope for future investment in the industry to see it thrive once again, economists and scientists believe that investment into green technology will provide a solution to the economic black hole left by the dwindling coal industry. Moreover, with unemployment rising significantly in Romania’s coal mining regions, renewable energy jobs will provide much-needed employment opportunities, bringing in even more benefits.
The EU Commission plans on investing at least €40 billion to help coal regions transition. Such funds could help outdated coal mining regions transform into green technology hubs, which would provide a significant and long-term boost to the economy.
The Benefits of Adopting Sustainable Practices
Romania’s plans to embrace the EU’s Green Deal proves just how much economic value can be gained from adopting green technologies. With the world moving towards renewables, there is a lot that can be gained from being early adopters and making businesses sustainable and future-proof.
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