In December the UN climate conference will open in Paris. Failure to set binding targets now threatens the entire future of our planet and human kind, as well as aggravating, in the short term, existing poverty, hunger and global migration, forcing people to flee their homes to seek clean drinking water and food. Women and children will be affected by climate change most.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP21 in Paris must not be allowed to turn into a power struggle between international corporations and independent nations, and therefore the transparency of the negotiations has to be safeguarded. At the same time, the rights of all citizens, as well as civil society's right to get involved and be heard, needs to be guaranteed in the process.
While a strong sense of responsibility is needed from state leaders, what we need even more are strong forces to stop the reckless acts of global industrial giants. However, there is also a need to acknowledge that governments or corporations alone cannot solve the whole problem; hence climate change needs to be addressed in an educational and philosophical way, too, in order to both engage people and make them take ownership at the very personal level.
Every little action counts, and the very first step for an individual to participate in the process of stopping climate change is to acknowledge that we all are accountable for the choices we make in our everyday life, while also reflecting our own personal relationship with respect to consumption and consumerism, guided by the capitalist system.
We, as GUE/NGL MEPs, urge the States, international organisations, public and private sectors and every human individual to act responsibly to limit the catastrophic consequences of climate change. Therefore we strongly support immediate action regarding the following altering measures:
1) Addressing the question of climate refugees at international level. The International Red Cross estimates that there are more environmental refugees than political refugees fleeing from wars and other conflicts; the UNHCR estimates that in 2013, 22 million people were displaced by catastrophes as a result of natural disasters.
2) Developing a coherent set of rules and financial support measures both under EU Action Plans against deforestation and forest degradation and under an international binding agreement, solidly anchored to the respect for human rights, especially the rights of indigenous peoples.
3) Including a long-term vision on the complete transition to a sustainable economy in the Paris agreement. In the EU this should translate to a 100% renewables goal in 2050 or shortly after.
4) Agreeing on binding commitments to be set in COP21 in Paris especially on the pending financial issues where government investments are indispensable.
5) Promoting greater resource efficiency and the circular economy in both developed and developing countries, which should lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, thereby making a vital contribution to tackle the climate challenge. We want to see cleaner energy and less consumption through effective energy-saving policies.
6) Stopping support for fossil energy gradually. The funding must instead be aimed at economic activities, focusing especially on micro and SME sectors, for research and design relating to clean-tech and (local) renewable energy production as well as to local sustainable food production separate from intensive farming.
7) Stressing the discrepancy between ambitions for free trade and climate action. Whereas TTIP and other free trade agreements will undoubtedly lead to increased transport and fuel consumerism, we need to adopt a sustainable way of life preferring local production and consumption, and restricting the excessive transport and logistics flows orchestrated by multinational corporations and the global hunt for a fast buck.
8) Promoting initiatives to reduce meat consumption as a measure contributing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In some regions of the world the steadily growing population and increasing incomes create higher demand for meat, whilst other regions suffer heavy and harmful famine; at the same time there is limited space for expansion in livestock production; and land grabbing as well as a scarcity of fertile soil are obliging indigenous people to abandon their traditional sustainable agriculture. Therefore the maximum utilisation of existing food resources, enhancing biodiversity and traditional means of exploiting natural resources become even more important.
9) Funding climate actions in developing countries must be ensured. As a question of human solidarity and historical responsibility, the rich and industrialised countries should make concrete their commitments from Copenhagen: to provide the Green Fund with 100 billion dollars per year, by 2020, to enable developing and less developed countries to adapt and face the consequences of global warming.
10) Strengthening the 2030 target to a 50% GHG emission reduction and cancelling ETS free allowances from the new Market Stability Reserve. As Europe starts to negotiate a new climate deal in Paris, it should be taken into account that Europe will most likely significantly outperform its 2020 climate targets but unused allowances banked from the current climate package threaten to undermine the ambition of Europe’s 2030 climate offer.
11) Introducing adequate and effective incentives by improving research on low carbon technologies in the industrial sector to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, without burdening the consumer with higher prices.
12) Implementing and reinforcing the existing COP financial commitments in order to support environmentally friendly and sustainable production from third countries, which can therefore comply with criteria for environmentally responsible production.
13) Improving the attractiveness of walking and cycling and public transport in urban areas by comprehensive and immediate policy measures; promoting ride-sharing and car-sharing schemes.
14) Encouraging municipal authorities to adopt more sustainable solutions in spatial planning.