EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso held his State of the Union 2012 Address in the European Parliament today.
His call for a "decisive deal for Europe" is nothing more than the usual lithany of neoliberal (growth and competitiveness first) and old-school EU Integration platitudes (more economic and political union, European parties) with a few words added to placate those in Europe who want real "new thinking" and a really convincing new European project: a socially just and green new EU.
O yes and we need a new European public space now that anti-EU sentiment in lots of EU member states is running high. Where have we heard this before? Margot Wallström, please come back!
- Climate change: Does UK set the gold standard of climate policies? See for yourself: Ed Miliband’s plan. Read also George Monbiot’s blog reaction.
- EU Commission uses MTV to convince youth of tackling climate change. Look at the MTV website. Will MTV tell the MTV generation that the party is over and that the times of exuberance are past?
- Resource constraints: China seeks leverage on ore prices (Wall Street Journal 15.07)
- Climate change: Another EU president who denies climate change? (Buzek) see EUObserver
- Climate change: Fighting climate change with patents (Wall Street Journal 15.07). For another view see EurActiv
- Sustainable production: Backers don’t buy environment-friendly palm oil (Wall Street Journal 15.07)
- Exxon invests in biofuels (algaeà (FT). See also Earth2Tech (Heavy hitters in algae fuel deals) and Science News (Algae: biofuel of the future?)
In the US, twenty-nine of the biggest NGOs published a 391-pages policy document with recommendations for the new Obama administration on how to start the transition to a green and clean economy.
The impressive report includes detailed proposals on how to endorse legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35% before 2020 and and 80% cut compared to 1990 by 2050.
The Gristmill blog has a good summary of the main action points of the “Transition to Green” report. The Natural Resources Defence Council’s (NRDC – one of the organisations behind the report) blog explains the sense of urgency behind this unusual coalition and the policy document they agreed on.
I hope we can bring our own European social, development and environmental NGOs together around a similar policy recommendation report before next year’s European Parliament election. Anyone who wants to take the lead, let me know.
From the Oil Drum:
“On Tuesday 26th June 2007, Tony Blair’s last full day as Prime Minister, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas (APPGOPO) held its inaugural Annual General Meeting, ensuring that the issue of declining global oil supplies will feature much more prominently in Parliament in the Gordon Brown era. APPGs are composed of politicians from all political parties and have members from the House of Commons and the House of Lords. APPGOPO will enable interested MPs and Lords to discuss Peak Oil and all its surrounding issues“. Read full article.
Comment: Good news although it is questionable whether the new group will have much influence on the new Brown government which will be announced today. Let’s hope some UK MEPs follow the example and help set up a similar temporary committee in the European Parliament. IMHO, such a committee would make more sense than the recently started climate change committee, especially in view of the fact that with Commission services the phrase “peak oil” is still a big taboo. BTW, when I spoke during Green Week to MEP Anders Wijkman, he promised me some parliament initiative on this issue.
- Carbon dioxide emissions will rise 59% by 2030 as economic growth will drive demand for energy. This is the bad news published today by the US Energy Information Administration in its International Energy Outlook 2007. Looking at these figures, who still believes the EU will be able to convince other regions that a global reduction of 30% by 2030 is needed? Read the EurActiv story on this report.
- The race for the world’s greenest city now seems truly on as New York mayor Mike Bloomberg announces that the city’s famous yellow cabs will be converted to gas-electric hybrids by 2012. More on CNN and HybridCarBlog.com
- The European Parliament’s newly established special committee on climate change held its first constituent meeting on 22 May. Italian Socialist Guido Sacconi was elected as chairman. Who will measure the carbon footprint of this committee with all its future flying and conferencing?
While Brussels is basking in the April summer heat and citizens are out on the streets enjoying the “friendly face” of climate change, members of the European Parliament are feverishly trying to position themselves as important players on the climate policy battle field.
To “co-ordinate” the parliament’s position on these issues, the MEPs decided on Wednesday 25 April to establish a temporary committee consisting of no less than 60 members. The committee will have a mandate of one year. I am sure we will see lots of MEPs flying to Washington and Beijing in the next 12 months to help solve this global crisis. Good business for all the carbon offset companies and therefore good for Europe’s competitiveness!
Meanwhile, in a demonstration of perfect timing, two Green MEPs (Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert) presented an independent report trying to make the case for one seat of the European Parliament on the basis of climate change arguments. The monthly 4-day presence in Strasbourg leads to an extra CO2 burden of over 20,000 tonnes each year according to the report. Useful information for sure but why not produce a more substantial study on the energy/climate change impact of all institutions? It would be useful and politically relevant to have a yearly overview of the carbon footprint of Commission, Parliament, Council, EcoSoc, the Committee of the Regions etc. and to see if and how they are reducing their climate change impact.
Finally, I have two starting recommendations for the new temporary committee and the two green MEPs (further recommendations will have to be paid for :)). Start by abolishing most of the superfluous parliament delegations as they are no more and no less than cute travel agencies to exotic places for many MEPs. And then halve the number of MEPs. Do we really need over 700 of them?