Environment and Energy Council
EU must immediately work to restore its credibility in international climate policy
EU environment and energy ministers are meeting in Seville from today to Sunday, with the outcome of the UN climate summit in Copenhagen and the next steps for international climate policy at the top of their agenda. Ahead of the informal council, Green MEPs called on the ministers to restore the EU's proclaimed climate leadership. Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout said:
"Despite having spent years trumpeting its climate leadership, the EU went missing in action in Copenhagen and was consequently sidelined during the key stages of the negotiations. Rather than blaming others, this weekend's council must be honest and address the systemic failure of the EU in Copenhagen. Internal divisions must not continue to hamstring Europe's engagement in international climate politics. The EU must now work to restore not only its own credibility but also to restore faith in the UN process.
"A bold move from the EU would clearly help put global climate policy back on track. The EU's dated 20% emissions pledge clearly no longer cuts it. Europe's environment ministers must immediately end their prevarication and step up the EU's emissions reduction pledge to 30% by 2020 (from 1990 levels). For energy ministers, finally agreeing to a binding EU target on energy savings of 20% by 2020 would also help show Europe means business.
"After the disappointing outcome at Copenhagen all parties must redouble their efforts to ensure we have a legally binding UN climate deal by the end of 2010. The EU needs to take a much more proactive diplomatic effort to this end, broadening the net of its diplomacy to ensure it does not repeat its mistake of exclusively focusing on one or two players at the expense of others. Public disillusionment is growing as years of rhetoric from politicians on climate change has yet to yield any concrete results. We cannot afford to waste any more time if we are to have any chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change."