Tackling Climate Change is Route to Creating Jobs in Economic Downturn [Press release]
"This is the wrong time to be watering down climate change agreements"
Rupert Read, Prospective Green Party MEP for Eastern Region, has hit out at European Council attempts to use the financial crisis to water down climate agreements and jeopardise thousands of potential jobs in East Anglia as well as potentially denying people lower fuel bills and cleaner air.
Dr. Read, who is a Norwich City Councillor said
"Efforts by Member States to deliberately dilute proposed EU climate legislation, in terms of both targets and mechanisms, are utterly unacceptable and could harm the future prosperity and energy security of East Anglia.
In March 2007 Ministers agreed that the EU must unilaterally reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% on 1990 levels if a future global climate agreement is reached. They are now calling this commitment into question, as well as trying to undermine EU emissions reductions still further by allowing for a maximum of whatever targets they do agree to be met by offsetting abroad. The British Government is one of the most active on this - further evidence of its double standards on climate change.
As for the precise policies, among many other worrying moves it seems the Council is rowing back on the "polluter pays" principle that's supposed to underpin and incentivise emissions reductions via the Emissions Trading System; and to oppose the idea of ringfencing money raised through emissions trading for climate related purposes both at home and abroad.
This is the wrong time to be watering down climate change agreements. Attempting to use the financial crisis as an excuse to avoid tougher action on climate change is completely misguided.
The Stern report showed clearly the price of not taking action on climate change. The climate crisis is potentially more devastating than even the economic crisis - and ironically, the measures needed to address it are precisely those which could also help avoid a global recession. Strong policies which incentivise wind power, for example, could result in an avoided fuel cost of €20.5 billion across the EU alone by 2020, and provide over 500,000 jobs. East Anglia could be a leading region within Europe on developing renewable energy."
The Green Party is proposing a "Green New Deal", following in the footsteps of Roosevelt's New Deal of the 1930s. The Green New Deal would re-regulate international finance and bring an end to subsidies for polluting energy sources such as coal and nuclear. It would herald a major programme of public and private investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, generating thousands of green-collar jobs in the process. The Green New Deal is a route to make the transition away from declining fossil fuels and avoid a huge economic downturn at the same time.