Friday

14th May 2021

MEPs demand action from Barroso over climate sceptic remarks

  • Lewandowski questioned whether burning coal was an important driver of climate change (Photo: Mikko Itälahti)

A group of MEPs have demanded action from European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, after the EU's budget commissioner expressed doubts earlier this month over the reality of global warming.

In a set of oral questions tabled on Thursday (23 June), Socialist MEP Jo Leinen, Liberal Chris Davies and Green MEP Bas Eickhout also asked for clarifications as to why Janusz Lewandowski feels the EU's emission-cutting targets are overly ambitious.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"What is his justification to dispute the vast amount of evidence of climate change?" ask the cross-party trio of euro-deputies. "Does the commissioner oppose the EU's climate and energy package?"

With the commission just days away from publishing highly-anticipated proposals for the EU's next multi-annual budget (2014-2020), the MEPs are also keen to know how Lewandowski's comments will affect the bloc's 2020 climate ambitions and efforts at to secure greater resource-efficiency.

Crucially, the three MEPs want to know "which steps" Barroso is planning to take following the controversial comments, although how much pressure the full body of euro-deputies is willing to exert is unclear.

Speaking to a Polish trade magazine earlier this month, Lewandowski questioned whether burning coal was an important driver of climate change.

"There is a notion that the thesis that coal energy is the main cause of global warming is highly questionable," said the Polish commissioner, whose country currently secures roughly 90 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants.

"Moreover, more and more often there is a question mark put over the whole [issue of] global warming as such," he added.

A commission spokesman later clarified that Lewandowski was giving his personal views, a position the MEPs challenge.

"Commissioner Lewandowski was interviewed as EU budget commissioner and his function was mentioned in the interview's headline," they note in their questions to the commission.

Kerry resets climate relations before Glasgow summit

John Kerry, the US special presidential envoy, was in Brussels to discuss how to tackle climate change with the European Commission. His appearance also marked a major shift in relations after the previous US administration under Donald Trump.

Commission: Pioneering Nordics' energy mix 'example' to EU

The Nordic electricity market is an example of successful market integration plus climate action, as the share of sustainable energy keeps growing, the European Commission said. However, the decarbonisation of the transport sector remains a challenge.

Investigation

How Energy Treaty 'shadow' courts prolong EU's fossil age

The treaty enables companies to claim billions in compensation from states in front of international arbitration tribunals, if they feel unfairly treated by the states' energy or climate policies.

Feature

Adriatic Sea 'risks turning into a water desert'

The Adriatic Sea risks turning into a water desert, experts warn. Overfishing, bottom trawling, pollution, and climate change are seriously threatening the biodiversity of the Adriatic.

EU's 2021 fishing quotas to exceed scientific advice

EU minister for fisheries have agreed on fishing opportunities for 2021, with provisional quotas for the fish stocks shared with the UK. However, experts warned that some of these quotas will lead to overfishing "with detrimental effects on fish populations".

News in Brief

  1. No EUobserver newsletter on Friday 14 May
  2. Germany stops Facebook gathering WhatsApp data
  3. Italy rebuts reports of EU deal with Libya
  4. MEPs demand EU states protect women's reproductive rights
  5. At least nine dead in Russia school shooting
  6. Bulgaria interim government appointed until July election
  7. German priests defy pope to bless same-sex couples
  8. New EU public prosecutor faults Slovenia

EU faces long wait for full vaccine supplies

The EU is still several months away from having enough vaccines to inoculate its 450 million people, with Pfizer and BioNTech, its principle suppliers, aiming for September for delivery targets.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU aims at 'zero pollution' in air, water and soil by 2050
  2. French police arrest Luxembourg former top spy
  3. Vaccine drives spur better-than-expected EU economic recovery
  4. Slovenia causing headaches for new EU anti-graft office
  5. 'No place to hide' in Gaza, as fighting escalates
  6. EU chases 90m AstraZeneca vaccines in fresh legal battle
  7. Fidesz MEP oversees FOI appeals on disgraced Fidesz MEP
  8. Belgium outlines summer Covid relaxation plans

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us