Monday

29th May 2017

Focus

Lord Stern: West must end hesitation over climate change

Prince Charles and Lord Stern were among the prominent speakers in the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday (9 February) who warned Europe and its Western allies against a slowdown in the fight against climate change.

Current economic difficulties presented an opportunity not a hurdle to move towards a low carbon economy, said Lord Stern, an economist at the London School of Economics who authored an eponymous report in 2006 on the costs of climate change.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • A Texan oil pump. Last year's mid-term elections in the US saw a wave of climate change sceptics ushered into Capitol Hill (Photo: Paul Lowry)

"The case for urgent action is not just powerful, its also attractive," he said, adding that emerging countries such as China had increasingly grasped this while others, like the US, were moving backwards.

To contain the global temperature rise to two degrees and prevent mass migrations across the planet, emissions needed to be priced at a higher level, energy grids upgraded and a greater amounts of money spent on research and development, said the economist, calling the changes a "new industrial revolution."

"But if you look back, previous industrial revolutions brought two, three or four decades of strong growth, with huge investment returns for the pioneers," he added.

"The Chinese five-year plan outlines seven key industries such as clean technology and bio-energy, they are moving very strongly for the industries that will lead this new revolution."

Britain's Prince Charles hit out at climate sceptics who sought to use the current economic turmoil as a reason to slow progress towards a greener economy.

"Their suggestion that hundreds of scientists around the world ... are somehow unconsciously biased creates the implication that many of us are secretly conspiring to undermine and deliberately destroy the entire market-based capitalist system," he said.

"I would ask how these people are going to face their grandchildren and admit to them that they failed their future; that they ignored all the clear warning signs by passing them off as merely part of a 'cyclical process'."

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso conceded that fighting climate change had fallen down the agenda in recent years as governments struggled with weak budgets and high unemployment.

In March the commission is due to publish an Energy Efficiency Plan, together with a 2050 low carbon roadmap and a white paper on transport.

EU policy makers have repeatedly called on member states to step up efforts to reach the EU's 20 percent energy efficiency target by 2020, but have shied away from making the target binding in the same way that EU renewable and emission targets are.

Commission officials are also currently mulling plans to produce a specific list of resource efficiency targets this summer which could ultimately be tied to similar restrictions on member state debt and deficit levels.

China urges Germany and France to solve euro-crisis

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Thursday offered vague promises to buy bonds from troubled euro-countries, but said that it is ultimately up to Germany and France to solve the crisis.

MEPs and China mark change in relationship

Members of the five big political groups in the European Parliament have met with members of the one big political group in the National People's Congress of China, in what has been described as a “changing” and "very friendly" climate.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhat's Going on in Catalonia? Join the Debate on 8 June
  2. Swedish EnterprisesDo We Need a More Social Europe? A Lively Debate Awaits You on 7 June
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersDiscover the Role of Feminism in the Peripheries of Europe on 9 June
  4. Malta EU 2017EU Group Launched to Focus on Priorities and Policies Concerning Children
  5. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  7. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  8. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  9. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  10. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  11. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  12. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade

Latest News

  1. Macron and Putin hold uneasy first talks
  2. From Greece to Scotland, we stand by Europe
  3. Juncker keen to build EU 'bridge' to Trump
  4. Ministers water down post-Dieselgate reform
  5. Club de combat: des espions russes recherchent des recrues européennes
  6. Judges refuse to 'let go' of Le Pen's fake jobs case
  7. Merkel: Europe cannot rely on its allies anymore
  8. Macron to tell Putin EU sanctions to stay