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European Parliament calls for urgent climate action (2)

European Parliament calls for urgent climate action


Debate held as major new report on the climate economy is launched and one week before the UN New York Climate Summit begins

 

Brussels. 16 September 2014.

Today Members of the European Parliament engaged in a debate on the urgency of climate change calling for increased European action. The debate was held just ahead of next week's UN Climate Summit in New York [1]. Thirty-two parliamentarians from all the major political groups spoke, stressing the need for the EU to increase its climate action, and to take additional measures to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the short-term. European Council and Commission statements were given by Benedetto Della Vedova, Italian Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs and Connie Hedegaard, the current EU Commissioner for Climate Action.

MEPs called for the EU to increase investments in renewable energy and energy savings, to reform the ailing Emissions Trading Scheme, to scale up the provision of financial support for climate action in developing countries, and to adopt - at the October European Council - an ambitious emission reduction target for 2030, well beyond the proposed 40%. This call was supported by the findings of the newly released Better growth Better Climate – The New Climate Economy Report. [2]

Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe said:

"Today's debate in the European Parliament is a welcome sign that the urgency to tackle climate change is high on the political agenda. We now need our leaders to act in a way that reflects this call during next week's Climate Summit in New York."

 

"The new UN report on the economics of climate change makes it clear that transforming to a low-carbon society will bring economic benefits. It is time for our leaders to stop listening to the big corporate polluters who want to defend their status quo, whatever the cost to society and future generations."

Notes

[1] On 23 September, the UN Climate Summit 2014 will welcome more than 120 Heads of State and Government as well as leaders from business and civil society, to make specific commitments to reduce climate change and its impacts. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's aim is to increase political momentum and ambition for agreeing the new climate treaty at the Paris Climate Summit in December 2015. This year's Summit will be preceded by a weekend of global action by people, civil society organisations and faith groups across the world. For more information see: http://www.peoplesclimate.org

[2] Better Growth Better Climate - The New Climate Economy Report was released today by a Commission of global leaders. The report shows that governments and businesses can improve economic growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions together. Rapid technological innovation and new investment in infrastructure are making it possible today to tackle climate change at the same time as improving economic performance. For more information see: http://newclimateeconomy.net/

Contacts

Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe, wendel/at/caneurope.org, +32 473 17 08 87
Matthew Keys, Communications Manager, matthew/at/caneurope.org, +32 497 700 372

European Parliament calls for urgent climate action

European Parliament calls for urgent climate action


Debate held as major new report on the climate economy is launched and one week before the UN New York Climate Summit begins

 

Brussels. 16 September 2014.

Today Members of the European Parliament engaged in a debate on the urgency of climate change calling for increased European action. The debate was held just ahead of next week's UN Climate Summit in New York [1]. Thirty-two parliamentarians from all the major political groups spoke, stressing the need for the EU to increase its climate action, and to take additional measures to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the short-term. European Council and Commission statements were given by Benedetto Della Vedova, Italian Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs and Connie Hedegaard, the current EU Commissioner for Climate Action.

MEPs called for the EU to increase investments in renewable energy and energy savings, to reform the ailing Emissions Trading Scheme, to scale up the provision of financial support for climate action in developing countries, and to adopt - at the October European Council - an ambitious emission reduction target for 2030, well beyond the proposed 40%. This call was supported by the findings of the newly released Better growth Better Climate – The New Climate Economy Report. [2]

Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe said:

"Today's debate in the European Parliament is a welcome sign that the urgency to tackle climate change is high on the political agenda. We now need our leaders to act in a way that reflects this call during next week's Climate Summit in New York."

"The new UN report on the economics of climate change makes it clear that transforming to a low-carbon society will bring economic benefits. It is time for our leaders to stop listening to the big corporate polluters who want to defend their status quo, whatever the cost to society and future generations."

Notes

[1] On 23 September, the UN Climate Summit 2014 will welcome more than 120 Heads of State and Government as well as leaders from business and civil society, to make specific commitments to reduce climate change and its impacts. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's aim is to increase political momentum and ambition for agreeing the new climate treaty at the Paris Climate Summit in December 2015. This year's Summit will be preceded by a weekend of global action by people, civil society organisations and faith groups across the world. For more information see: http://www.peoplesclimate.org

[2] Better Growth Better Climate - The New Climate Economy Report was released today by a Commission of global leaders. The report shows that governments and businesses can improve economic growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions together. Rapid technological innovation and new investment in infrastructure are making it possible today to tackle climate change at the same time as improving economic performance. For more information see: http://newclimateeconomy.net/

Contacts

Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe, wendel/at/caneurope.org, +32 473 17 08 87
Matthew Keys, Communications Manager, matthew/at/caneurope.org, +32 497 700 372

Grave concerns of environmental NGOs- open letter to President Juncker

 

For Immediate Release

Grave concerns of environmental NGOs- open letter to President Juncker

Brussels, Belgium - 11 September 2014

The Green 10, the alliance of leading environmental NGOs at EU level, supported by over 20 million EU citizens and active in all 28 Member States, wrote today an open letter to President Jean-Claude Juncker to express grave concerns over the direction the EU seems to be taking with the announcement of his new team.

The coalition highlights that the structure of the new Commission, the mission letters, and the choice of Commissioners all reveal a serious downgrading of environment and a roll back of EU commitments to sustainable development, resource efficiency, air quality, biodiversity protection and climate action.

In particular the Green10 are concerned that:

• The move from a Commissioner with dedicated responsibilities for environment to having this policy area shared with other demanding dossiers represents a clear relegation of environmental issues in the order of political priorities. This is reinforced by the virtual lack of any reference to environment in the responsibilities of the Vice-Presidents.

• The mandate to the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner seems entirely centered on deregulation, asking a review of all current major initiatives underway. It does not mention the need to achieve any EU objectives, let alone take new initiatives.

• The inclusion in the mandate of orders to consider changing the EU Nature protection legislation, pre-empting the results of the ongoing fitness check, suggests a high level decision to weaken biodiversity protection in the EU. This is even more troubling as the Environment portfolio is given to a Commissioner whose government is under intense international criticism for failing to implement EU bird conservation legislation, which the Commissioner will now be in position to amend.

• The merging of the climate and energy portfolios and putting this Commissioner under a Vice President for Energy Union could imply that Climate Action is considered subordinate to energy market considerations.
• The choice of a Climate and Energy Commissioner with well-known links to the fossil fuel industry raises issues of conflict of interest.

• The shift of the responsibility for relations with the European Chemicals Agency, whose job is to protect European citizens from harmful chemicals, from DG Environment to DG Enterprise shows a clear bias towards prioritizing business interests over protection of human health and the environment and flies in the face of the objectives of the REACH Regulation.

• The fact that sustainable development, resource efficiency and the green economy are not covered at all at Vice-President level implies a Commission that will be operating on the basis of an outdated paradigm of economic growth, one that benefits the industries and jobs of the past over those of the future, and detached from real world constraints and limits.

• Your promise not to authorize any legislative initiative that is not in line with your priorities, combined with the virtual absence of any environmental priorities, suggests a de-facto shut down of EU environmental policy making.

Here attached the full text of the letter

European Commission to announce energy savings proposal

Will the European Commission slow progress on EU energy savings?

Brussels, 23 July

Today the European Commission is expected to publish a proposal for a 2030 energy savings target, completing the initial climate and energy proposal released in January of 2014[1]. The proposal comes after much speculation that a target as low as 27% will be proposed, an effective slowing down of action up to 2030 [2]. CAN Europe will be extremely disconcerted if the Commission presents a target below 40%, let alone below the inadequate 30% level that some are predicting.

Dora Petroula, Energy Savings Policy Officer at CAN Europe said:

"It would be utter madness for the European Commission to set an energy savings target that conflicts with its own analysis, which shows higher ambition, such as a 40% target, will bring greater benefits for EU countries."

"The European Commission needs to align their actions with their words. They keep celebrating energy efficiency as a key solution to EU climate and energy concerns, but they are also considering a 2030 target that will slow down the current trends in energy savings after 2020."

The Commission's own analysis [3] shows that higher ambition brings greater benefits such as significant greenhouse gas emission reductions and lower levels of gas imports.

A decision is expected this October in Brussels, when heads of state and government will meet at the EU Council to decide on all 3 elements of the post-2020 climate and energy framework. CAN Europe is calling for three ambitious and binding targets of at least 55% greenhouse gas emission reductions, 45% renewable energy deployment and 40% energy savings.

ENDS

*******************************************************

The Commission's Press Conference on the Energy Efficiency Communication will begin at 12.15 (CEST) and can be streamed via the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/ebs/schedule.cfm?sitelang=en&page=1&institution=0&date=07/23/2014

NOTES:

[1] The Commission's proposal is supposed to complete its 2030 climate and energy policy framework proposal launched in January 2014, which presented targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions and the share of renewable energy.

[2] An earlier version of the Commission's Communication says that Europe is set to achieve energy savings of 170Mtoe during the current decade in order to achieve its 20% target in 2020, and that saving an equivalent amount of energy during the next decade would lead to 30% energy savings in 2030 compared to the 2007 projections. http://www.changepartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/EC-2014-Energy-Efficiency-Review-v12.pdf

[3] https://www.foeeurope.org/sites/default/files/commission_ia_2030_energy_efficiency.pdf

CONTACTS:

Dora Petroula – Energy Savings Policy Officer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +32 2 894 46 71

Matthew Keys – Communications Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +32 2 894 46 73, mobile: +32 497 700 372

New report demonstrates need for sustainable energy in Southeast Europe

EnergyCommunityReport

In a report released this week [1] at a high level meeting of the Energy Community [2], CAN Europe and other NGOs [3] called for more transparency, a level playing field for energy investments and decent environmental standards in Southeast Europe. The report represents the agreed position of the NGOs towards the Energy Community.

This report clearly demonstrates that the Energy Community needs redoubled commitment from its members to support the EU's long-term decarbonisation and environmental protection goals,said Dragana Mileusnic of CAN Europe.
 
The recent flooding of homes, coal mines and power plants across the Balkans, caused by the type of extreme weather event that will become more frequent with mounting climate impacts, demonstrate that sustainable energy policies are crucial components of security and sustainability in the region. The new report explains how the extension and reform of the Energy Community Treaty presents a golden opportunity to meet the region’s energy challenges with a united approach.
 
When presenting the report Garret Tankosic-Kelly, Principal of SEE Change Net, stated, “We are concerned that environmental and social concerns are being discounted and deadlines postponed because of shady business dealings amongst high level decision makers in the power sector.”
 
The report also reflects the need for improvements in the field of rule of law and transparency, environmental standards and climate action as well as in implementation of the Treaty provisions .
 
“A common energy market for the EU and the Energy Community will require a level playing field in terms of laws and standards, just like in football. If we don’t all play by the same rules, the game isn’t fair,” added Malgorzata Smolak of Client Earth.

 

The Energy Community has recently made significant efforts to include the views of NGOs and foster greater public participation in the functioning of the Treaty, including giving NGOs this first chance to present a report at a High Level Group Meeting.

Contacts:

Dragana Mileusnic, CAN Europe Policy Officer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +32 471 438 442

Masha Durkalic, SEE Change Net Communications Officer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +387 63 999 827

Notes:

[1] Smolak M. et al.,Recommendations Regarding the Reform of Energy Community Treaty,” June 2014.  http://seechangenetwork.org/images/publications/recommendations%20regarding%20the%20reform%20of%20energy%20community%20treaty.pdf

[2] The Energy Community is an international organisation dealing with energy policy. It was founded in 2006 with the aim of extending the EU internal energy policy to the South East Europe and Black Sea region in the context of a legally binding framework. In addition to the EU, the Energy Community members are the countries of the Western Balkans, Moldova and Ukraine, with Armenia, Norway and Turkey having observer status.  http://www.energy-community.org/portal/page/portal/ENC_HOME/MEMBERS

[3] Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe's largest coalition working on climate and energy issues. With over 120 member organisations in more than 25 European countries, CAN Europe works to prevent dangerous climate change and promote sustainable energy and environment policy in Europe. In addition to CAN Europe, the report released this week was supported by Client Earth, HEAL, CEE Bankwatch, WWF MedPo and regional NGOs including SEE Change Net, Front 21/42 and others.

 

 

Press Release: 70 new MEPs become climate ambassadors

70 new MEPs become climate ambassadors

[Brussels, 28 May 2014 - For immediate release] – Over 70 MEPs from 25 EU countries across almost all political groups have indicated their readiness to take a leadership role in the climate debate in the European Parliament. These forward-thinking MEPs all signed CAN Europe's Climate Pledge and were elected or re-elected to the European Parliament this week. [1] By signing our Climate Pledge, they have committed to tackling climate change during their terms of office and ushering in the economic, health and energy security benefits this action would bring.

"We are pleased to see that there is a significant number of MEPs who will work to keep climate change at the heart of the European agenda," said Wendel Trio of CAN Europe "It is now critical that the European Parliament gets quickly up to speed on the work the EU must do before a global climate agreement can be signed in 2015."

Earlier this year, the European Parliament proved itself once again to have more climate ambition than its counterpart, the European Commission, by voting for three binding climate targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, energy efficiency and renewables. As elected officials, MEPs listened to their constituencies, the majority of whom resoundingly called for increased climate action in Europe. [2] CAN Europe will work closely with MEPs during the coming term to ensure that the Parliament's more progressive stance on climate change is maintained.

The growth of the EU skeptic parties in this election will not necessarily adversely affect EU climate policy. CAN Europe's analysis of the votes on crucial climate and energy issues of the last five years shows that many of the existing skeptics do not participate in votes [3], leaving us with the same challenge as ever: motivating 'climate friendly' MEPs in all parties to support adequate climate legislation.

[ends]

Contacts:
Wendel Trio, CAN Europe Director, +32 473 170 887, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Matt Keys, CAN Europe Communications Officer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +32 2 894 46 73

Notes:
[1] Based on data available on 28 May 2014, 70 MEPs who signed CAN Europe's climate pledge had been re-elected to Parliament. Over 450 MEP candidates representing the five biggest political groups in the European Parliament signed the pledge. See interactive EU map here: http://caneurope.org/voteforclimateaction/index.php?gktab=4#pledgemap
[2] A recent Eurobarometer survey shows 9 out of 10 Europeans recognize climate change as a "very serious" or "serious" threat and that 4 out of 5 agree that fighting climate change can boost the economy and jobs in Europe. http://ec.europa.eu/clima/citizens/support/docs/report_2014_en.pdf
[3] This analysis is available in CAN Europe's Climate Scorecards: http://caneurope.org/voteforclimateaction/index.php?gktab=3

Media contact

   Matthew Keys
   Communications Manager
   Direct line: +32 2894 4673
   Email: matthew/at/caneurope.org

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