Wednesday

19th Feb 2020

Barroso sees 'dramatic' climate change in Greenland

  • "We need to do more. The situation is very dramatic," Mr Barroso said (Photo: Wikipedia)

Climate change is the most important political issue in the European Union, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said after a visit to Greenland to see the effects of global warming first hand.

"We need to do more. The situation is very dramatic," Mr Barroso said according to Danish daily Politiken.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or join as a group

"Greenland is without doubt one of the areas on the planet which are most affected by climate change," he added, while explaining that it was essential for him to see the effects of warming with his own eyes.

Greenland – a self-governed Danish territory - is the world's largest island of which 81 percent is covered by the Greenland ice sheet.

Mr Barroso was invited by Greenland premier Hans Enoksen and Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen to survey the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier - a UN heritage site - in Ilulissat on the west coast of Greenland.

The glacier is melting at an alarming speed, according to scientists, leading to longer summers which means that hunters and fishermen from Ilulissat only have four to five months to go fishing and hunting on the ice compared to eight months just a few years ago.

"It is important for me to have a direct contact with the local societies where climate change affects their way of life and economic income. It is very different from reading the well-researched briefings I receive and now I can go back to Brussels and continue my fight for a more ambitious policy fighting climate change," the commission chief told the Ritzau news agency.

Mr Barroso said he hoped the main elements of a new treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, could be agreed upon at a UN climate summit in Bali, Indonesia, in December.

"It is evident we will not succeed without binding targets and global commitments," he said.

The European Commission will on Friday (29 June) come out with a Green Paper on "Adapting to Climate Change in Europe - Options for EU Action."

The draft document warns that unless there is advance planning, European countries will be left to respond "to increasingly frequent crises and disasters."

These "will prove much more costly and also threaten Europe's social and economic systems and its security," says the paper, according to the International Herald Tribune.

It concludes that "each European citizen will be affected one way or another and the widest possible involvement of all members of society is needed."

EU leaders face major clash on rule of law budget link

One major issue dividing member states in the ongoing budget negotiations is inserting a direct link between EU subsidies and the rule of law. While the biggest battle will be over figures, the rule of law conditionality also creates tension.

Column

Western 'endarkenment' and the voodoo politics of Europe

The continent that gave the world the Enlightenment has collectively reverted to believing in fairy tales and the soothing power of cozy narrowness. Moscow and Beijing like what they see, and are doing everything to strengthen the trend.

Warning of agricultural 'digital arms race' in EU

Europe is on the verge of allowing centralisation and concentration of farming data at an unprecedented scale, with the absence of any regulation, NGO Friends of the Earth have warned.

News in Brief

  1. EU unveils white paper on AI and data strategy
  2. Dutch court rules against Russia in €46bn Yukos case
  3. Britain to bar 'Polish plumber-type' migrants
  4. Greece seeks EU help to get back classical statues from UK
  5. HSBC to cut 35,000 jobs worldwide
  6. Regions chief appeals against cutting EU cohesion funds
  7. Verhofstadt criticises UK Brexit negotiator
  8. Turkish court acquits Gezi park activists

Column

Western 'endarkenment' and the voodoo politics of Europe

The continent that gave the world the Enlightenment has collectively reverted to believing in fairy tales and the soothing power of cozy narrowness. Moscow and Beijing like what they see, and are doing everything to strengthen the trend.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. EU leaders face major clash on rule of law budget link
  2. North Macedonia warns EU on 'dirtiest ever' election
  3. Western 'endarkenment' and the voodoo politics of Europe
  4. Warning of agricultural 'digital arms race' in EU
  5. Cayman Islands put on tax-haven blacklist after Brexit
  6. Boris' Brexit bluff? - UK will resist alignment to the end
  7. US still open to Kosovo-Serbia land swap
  8. EU countries enter final phase of budget talks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us