Page 8 - European Energy Innovation - Winter 2015 publication
P. 8
inter 2015 European Energy Innovation

In Paris we have an appointment
with history

By Kathleen Van Brempt (pictured) is vice-president of the S&D group in the European parliament

The importance of LEAPFROG that developed countries would
the Paris climate But things are different now. set aside up to $ 100 billion
summit can hardly be The Kyoto Protocol still bears
underestimated. It will the indelible stamp of the DQQXDOO\WRƓQDQFHFOLPDWHDFWLRQV
be one of the last opportunities economic order of the nineties,
to avoid dramatic climate change. in which the world was sharply in developing countries. That will
To counter self-reinforcing divided into developing and be quite a challenge. European
global warming, we must limit industrialized countries. Only the social-democrats have insisted
temperature rise to a maximum of latter committed themselves to on using alternative means of
2° C above pre-industrial levels. binding agreements. Today, this
To reach that goal, global carbon dichotomy has faded. More than ƓQDQFLQJ7KLVZRXOGLQFOXGHD
emission cuts of 40 to 70 percent half of the emissions come from
- preferably at the upper end of emerging economies such as ƓQDQFLDOWUDQVDFWLRQWD[DVKDUHRI
that target - are needed by 2050 China, India, South Africa or Brazil.
and we should stop using fossil The Paris summit will outline the the proceeds from the auctioning
fuels altogether by the end of the blueprint for a new climate policy of emission rights in a reformed
century. in which all countries engage emissions trading system or a tax
in climate efforts, according on emissions from international
If we fail, we should expect to their own capabilities and aviation and shipping. Taxing
a cascade of environmental responsibilities. All countries emissions from aviation and
disasters, eroding biodiversity, were invited to deliver national shipping can help greening the
melting ice caps, rising sea levels, commitments at the UN. transport sector as well. This is
necessary because they emit as
GHVHUWLƓFDWLRQPRUHLQWHQVH More than three quarters of them much as Germany and South
- accounting for more than 90 Korea together and will keep on
ŴRRGVDQGKXUULFDQHVFURS percent of global greenhouse growing in the coming decades.
failures... Such catastrophes will gas emissions - have done that.
trigger massive migrations which Emerging economies retained THE EUROPEAN AVANT-GARDE
will dwarf the current refugee the right to ‘dirty’ growth for a Europe should not be ashamed
crisis. In a few decades Europe long period of time, just as the at the Paris negotiating table.
could be faced with up to 200 Western world did before them. On the contrary. The EU will
million climate refugees. The But now we see a shift in policy reach the 20 percent emission
ecological, economical and social and thinking. Cheaper clean reduction target by 2020 easily.
disruptions will affect not only technologies and local problems At the moment European
our societies but even life on our with air pollution have caused emissions are already 23 percent
planet. countries like China and India lower, while our economy has
to leapfrog towards sustainable grown by 50 percent since 1990.
Can the Paris Summit reverse solutions. Rural areas are instantly The 20-20-20-policy has been
this trend? Previous controversial provided with local renewable the driving force behind the
climate conferences often turned sources of power, without development of the European
out to be disappointing. Think of using the intermediate step of Clean Tech industry, which
Copenhagen. The Kyoto Protocol centralized energy production employs more than 4.2 million
and some of the implementing based on polluting coal. people and continued to grow
agreements were admittedly during the crisis years. But
called diplomatic successes, but FINANCING FOR CLIMATE European world leadership in
they never became the crucial The ‘old’ industrial world still has clean technology has still not
turning point to stop carbon a historical debt to pay off. In yet been achieved. In 2013, for
pollution. Since 1990 global CO2 Copenhagen we therefore agreed example, China invested more in
emissions have increased by 58 renewable energy than the EU.
percent. To secure our leading position
in Clean Tech and reach an
ambitious agreement in Paris,
Europe should strengthen its
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