Press Service of the Greens/EFA Group
Press release 16.10.08
Commenting on the outcome of today’s European Council and its ‘conclusions’ on the EU’s climate and energy package of legislation, UK Green MEP Caroline Lucas said:
“The outcome of today’s European Council does not bode well for the EU’s climate and energy package. The French presidency now appears to be driving for an agreement based on the lowest common denominator, with the European Council in December to steamroller this through in complete disregard for the co-decision role of the European Parliament.
This à la carte approach to the various demands of the Member States would rip all substance out of the climate package, leaving the EU with an empty shell of legislation. The role of the European Parliament as a co-legislator is set out in the European treaties. It is an equal partner with the Council in deciding on this legislation and, following key votes on the legislative dossiers over the past month, has a clear mandate to push for a meaningful and ambitious climate package.”
Finnish Green and EP rapporteur for the Effort Sharing legislation under the climate package, Satu Hassi, added:
“We welcome the fact that Poland and Italy failed in their attempt to derail the whole package. However, the emerging pressure from different Member States to scale back or dismantle EU climate policy is a major blow, both to the environment and the European economy.
“The economic case for tackling climate change is clear and every step to delay the necessary action will ultimately lead to greater costs, as the Stern report has made clear. Much of the measures to reduce our emissions are no-brainers for the economy. Improving energy efficiency (whether of vehicles, industrial production through the ETS, power generation, buildings etc.) will save money, improve profitability and, together with an increase in renewable energies, reduce our dependence on energy imports and the massive economic instability that this brings. All the evidence shows the positive impacts this action will have on job creation in Europe at this critical time.
Climate policy offers an opportunity to shift our economies away from the bust-boom cycle of an over-exploitative, speculative fossils-based economy. Continually delaying action on climate policy to pander to shortsighted populist politicians will ultimately increase the economic pain of adapting to our climate and energy realities.
We risk getting stuck in a groundhog day as regards climate and energy policy. We should not allow polluting industries (like the laggards in the car industry and energy sector) to be once again let off the hook, passing the burden and cost on to future generations. As the financial crisis has all to clearly revealed, allowing an industry to decide the terms of its own regulations is inimical to the public interest”