President Barroso made some very important statements on climate change. He said: ‘The cause of climate is of existential nature for the planet. So [taking climate action] is a duty we have, also towards future generations. So I hope that the leaders of Europe, at national level, also keep the momentum to fight climate change. Because it is an existential threat to our planet.’
New EU climate & energy package
I wanted Mr Barroso’s word on two things. He didn’t give his word on either of them. He said the Commission is working on a proposal for a new climate and energy package for 2030 (which I already knew), but not that it will be legislative, nor that it will have adequate targets.
Leading by example
On the issue of Europe leading climate action by example, Mr Barroso sees “getting the others on board” as leadership. He said: ‘Yes, I can commit to keep European leadership.’ But I’m not so sure Europe is still leading. And he certainly did not give his word on leading by example. There are rumours now that there is consensus in Commission and Council on a 40% CO2 reduction target. Speaking of ‘adequate’ measures: 40% reduction is insufficient to stay on the safe side of 2 degrees warming!
Be big on climate change
In his State of the European Union address, Mr Barroso said with regards to the European Union: ‘Be big on big things; small on small things.’ Climate change being an existential threat, I’d say: be big on climate change!
What should the European Commission do?
The European Commission should be bold and brave in tackling the climate crisis. It has a moral and legal duty to protect its citizens from security threats. Therefore it should take at least three actions: 1) deliver a legislative proposal with adequate targets to stay on the safe side of two degrees global warming; 2) deliver a strong structural reform of the European emissions trading system (EU ETS); 3) lead global climate talks by example.