President. − The next item is the report (A7-0033/2012) by Chris Davies, on behalf of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, on a Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050 (2011/2095(INI)).
Chris Davies, rapporteur. − Mr President, last week I was in my constituency in the City of Carlisle, standing on a muddy patch of ground where a new supermarket is being built, watching a drilling machine digging holes in the ground to about a 60-metre depth down which cold water will be pumped and from which warmer water will emerge, providing the heating system for the new supermarket. This ground source heat pump system will save the developers about GBP 100 000 a year and have a payback of eight years at most, possibly less.
If these are the steps we have to take to develop a low-carbon economy – drilling a few holes in the ground – it does not seem that difficult to me. But there are two lessons to be learned from this. The first is that the financial mechanism alone should have encouraged supermarket developers and the like to invest in simple technology of this kind, but often it takes regulation to make it: financial mechanisms alone have not stimulated the market sufficiently. Secondly, it takes time. One building here, one building there will not make much difference. But every large building constructed over the next 40 years will make a difference.
Endorsement of the Commission’s Roadmap for a competitive low-carbon economy by 2050 provides the framework for measures to enable us to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide by more than 80% over the next few decades. Because I, together with this House, believe that global warming presents a threat to billions on this planet in the coming decades, that is something important to us all. But I accept what the Polish Environment Minister said in his letter to colleagues at the Environment Council last week. He had some good arguments, saying, for example, that Europe, with only 12% of the world’s emissions, cannot solve the problems of the world. Of course that is correct. It does not mean to say that we cannot take a lead. He also said that we must be careful not to lose industry, and that is also correct: we do not want to lose jobs overseas as a result of the measures we take to deal with climate change.
But let us not exaggerate this; let us not pretend that we have lost most of these jobs because of climate change measures – they have gone because of many, many other reasons, not because of the emissions trading system or anything like it. What was really missing from the argument put forward by the Polish Minister was that the dynamics of the process of actually setting targets and introducing the appropriate regulations can drive forward innovation.
Look at the car industry: look at how, when we passed legislation just three years ago, it was bitterly resisted by industry – and yet they far exceeded the CO2 reduction targets we set. They have done a brilliant job and not simply reduced their emissions but made their vehicles more fuel-efficient so that they are cheaper to drive, with consumers thereby getting a better deal. That really is a win-win situation for Europe and for our industry. Frankly, if the arguments of the Polish Environment Minister had been applied, we would not have got to that situation now.
I believe that the Roadmap can stimulate technology and give greater certainty for investors. Do people in Poland really think that if they are building a coal-fired power station now, with a lifetime of 30 or 40 years, we will not be insisting that our measures be enforced over that period to reduce its CO2 emissions? I cannot see it. It is important that we plan for the future. We must not condemn Europe to relative decline. We have got to look not to the past but to the future.
Commissioner, I hope Parliament today will endorse the Roadmap; I hope you will embrace many of the ideas put forward in it by my colleagues here, and I hope you will then bring forward measures to promote innovation, create jobs and take Europe forward.
Connie Hedegaard, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, the 2050 Roadmap communication provides a solid basis for discussing the further development of EU climate policies. It represents an incredibly strong signal for the whole process in this Parliament on this issue. I would like to thank in particular the rapporteurs: Chris Davies from the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and Mario Pirillo from the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. It sends a very strong message about what this is all about, namely the environment and industry going hand in hand and seeing that this is not harming the potential in Europe and is actually something that can enhance our growth.
We just heard Chris Davies, a Liberal, say that financial mechanisms alone are not enough, and often it also takes regulation: that is also a very clear statement and is exactly what the low-carbon Roadmap is about.
After the second failure of the Environment Council to adopt Council conclusions on the 2050 Roadmap, it is even more important that the European Parliament gives its support to an ambitious EU climate policy in line with the global requirements, integrating the discussion on the short-term policy needs with the longer-term perspective.
Although one country blocked the final compromise in the Council, 26 Member States explicitly asked the Commission to move forward. We should not allow the most reluctant among us to dictate the pace of the rest. This is a very clear signal coming out of the European Parliament today: that you really want us to move forward and take the measures needed.
We welcome the report, as it endorses the central findings of the Commission’s 2050 Roadmap – in particular the interim milestones for domestic greenhouse gas emissions reductions, as set out in the Roadmap. In the context of the difficult economic circumstances we are facing, the European Parliament’s report strikes the right balance and creates the right vision.
It is of paramount importance that Parliament recognises that a gradual, cost-effective transition to a low-carbon economy passes through the milestones for domestic greenhouse gas reductions of 40% by 2030 and 60% by 2040 in order to achieve at least 80% by 2050 as compared to 1990.
This is strong guidance for our policy for decades to come. It is the starting point for further work related to the preparation of the 2030 policy framework, which is reasonably foreseeable and the focus of most current investors. Business needs clarity in the long term in order to be able to keep costs down. If there is one thing business always asks from us as politicians and regulators, it is long-term predictability. If you are a company, a sector or an investor, you are already looking beyond 2020 and planning investments which have a much more distant horizon.
The report confirms that, if the EU delivers on its current policies – including its commitment to achieve a 20% energy efficiency improvement by 2020 – this would add a further 5% greenhouse gas reduction through domestic action. While this does not require any change to our current targets for 2020, it shows a very practical and economical way to achieve higher reductions in line with the cost-effective pathway to 2050. The Energy Efficiency Directive will play a vital role here in providing the legal framework for reaching the 20% efficiency target. As you know, we are by no means on track to meet that.
The report also recognises that the ETS remains the principal instrument of the EU climate policy, though not the only one. The Commission is monitoring the situation closely. For the longer term, we take note of the various proposals put forward by the European Parliament for future changes to the ETS. We will assess how to take these into account in our further work.
With regard to the risk of carbon leakage, I understand that this is present throughout the report, but the EU has included specific measures in the climate and energy package, as the report also states. These are adequate. Border measures are not necessary and are counter-productive, at least at the moment. As I have said before, they are a tool in the toolbox, but they should stay there for as long as we can move forward through other means. As outlined in the Roadmap, we will continue to observe the international situation in order to ensure that these measures remain adequate.
In the Commission we fully share the strong focus set on energy efficiency and renewables. This is key to combining emission reductions, improved energy security and sustainable growth and jobs. In this respect, the Commission urges the Council and Parliament to reach an agreement on the Energy Efficiency Directive rapidly. In addition, the Commission will soon come forward with a communication considering the EU’s strategy on renewable energy post 2020.
We strongly support Parliament’s call for enhanced action to reduce emissions in the power, industry, transport and agriculture sectors. Let me highlight just one example from the transport sector. The report affirms that the Commission should be proposing ways of ensuring that average CO2 emissions from new cars meet the target of not more than 95g/km by 2020. As requested in the existing legislation, the Commission will this year produce a proposal to establish the modalities for reaching this target.
Furthermore, the Commission intends to submit a proposal addressing emissions of HFCs and other fluorinated greenhouse gases in the second half of this year, which is also mentioned in the report. Finally, we also welcome the balanced considerations on competitiveness, research, innovation, growth and jobs in the context of moving to a low-carbon economy, confirming the main conclusions of the Commission assessments.
Last but not least, we thank you very much for supporting the Commission’s proposal for the next multiannual financial framework and the intention to a very substantial degree to mainstream climate action in it. The Commission has proposed to increase the proportion of climate-related expenditure to at least 20% of the whole budget, either directly on climate action or through other policies where climate action is also addressed and where the different initiatives will help us move in a greener direction and the direction of a low-carbon economy. We count on your support on this matter in the upcoming budgetary discussions.
In conclusion, I would encourage the European Parliament to adopt the resolution as a further step for developing the appropriate policy framework for the transition to a competitive, energy-secure and resource-efficient low-carbon economy. What you are about to adopt today will send a very strong and timely signal that Europe is ready to move on. Thank you very much for that.
Mario Pirillo, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. – (IT) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 80-95% by 2050 enables us to lay the foundations for a post-carbon European economy. It also requires us to launch a new industrial revolution based on new thinking about the system of production, involving the whole socio-economic sphere, to create better awareness of energy consumption and the efficient use of land. Research will play a key role in fully exploiting renewable energy. With firm and binding objectives, we shall be able to prepare industry for the transition while preserving its competitiveness at the global level.
Europe must take pride in having set out at every level on the road to protecting the environment and combating climate change. There is no way that we can negotiate with the environment, and that is why we must insist on solutions that lead to zero emissions, and why I am convinced that nuclear energy must not form part of the energy mix. As the rapporteur for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), I am grateful to Mr Leinen and Mr Davies for their excellent cooperation. Thank you.
Romana Jordan, on behalf of the PPE Group. – (SL) Mr President, for several years we have been tackling a financial and economic crisis, forcing media coverage of sustainable growth to take a back seat. But despite this, Europe has continued work in this area and we are on track to achieve our set objectives.
It might seem ambitious to debate the reduction of emissions in these difficult times, but this is the moment to do so. Objectives have been set for 2020, and we will only achieve these through the Energy Efficiency Directive. However, since the path to a low-carbon society is connected to investment in technology which should last several decades, we should already be giving potential investors guidelines for the development of European society to the year 2050 and showing them the path to a low-carbon society. For us, this is the path of development of technology, investment in knowledge and innovation and sustainable rural development.
Since we are on the threshold of a new Multiannual Financial Framework, the European budget must also reflect these priorities, both in agricultural and cohesion policy and support for the Horizon 2020 research programme, as well as in numerous sectoral policies.
In this report, we largely succeeded in remaining as technologically neutral as possible. We also emphasised the international dimension and the responsibility of third countries for achieving global objectives.
It is good that we have recognised the Emissions Trading System (ETS) as an important market-based mechanism for the European Union. Any recalibration of the system will therefore impact climate objectives. A desire to set higher objectives is covered in the Energy Efficiency Directive, potentially due to be adopted in the middle of this year. Any other changes to objectives are unrealistic in the short term. In this respect, we might also be concerned about the credibility of the European Parliament.
With this in mind, several amendments have been drafted in cooperation with the rapporteur and I invite you to support a realistic but nevertheless ambitious approach to the development of a low-carbon society.
I believe it is very important that the European Parliament reaches a common position on the issues of long-term development, which have already been raised by the European Commission in its timeline. This is especially important given the problems occurring around the world, where I personally think we should listen more sensitively to all the arguments for exercising a little more caution sometimes with our ambitions.
In finishing, I would also like to thank the rapporteur, who has been an excellent leader and coordinator on this occasion and ensured that we produced, in my opinion, an appropriate document for this parliamentary vote.
Jo Leinen, on behalf of the S&D Group. – (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, climate protection requires immediate measures, as well as a long-term strategy if we are to achieve the objective of stabilising the Earth’s atmosphere at 2 °C. The Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament supports your Roadmap for 2050. It is an extremely important element in guaranteeing planning certainty and clarity in relation to where the path is to take us. All those involved, particularly the economic sector, eagerly await this planning certainty and clarity. This makes it all the more regrettable that Friday’s Environment Council meeting was blocked by one country, showing itself to be incapable of making political decisions. I would like to ask the Commission: what is your strategy for rescuing Poland from this psychological and political isolation? We need Poland. Poland is an important country. We need to make it clear that Poland also has enormous opportunities to modernise its economy and deploy new technology in pursuing its climate strategy. Perhaps it is necessary to clarify the assistance the EU can offer and the way in which the effort is distributed among all 27 countries, all of which share a common goal, but which may have different ways of reaching that goal. Commissioner, you must be able to provide an answer here.
If we want to reduce CO2 emissions by 80 to 95%, we need to embrace all sectors, not just industry, but also transport and agriculture. I hope that the amendments tabled here will not dilute our report. We need to speak out clearly in relation to climate neutrality in the transport sector and in favour of major efforts in the agricultural sector. We would encourage you to include not just aviation, but also marine transport in the emissions trading system. You need to show leadership here, and you should not give in.
The Emissions Trading System is not working. You need to take corrective action. This report indicates how this can work. I believe, in the final analysis, that we are witnessing a new industrial revolution. The issue at stake is a competitive European economy and climate protection is a key element in the competitiveness of Europe in the 21st century.
Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – (NL) Mr President, the nice thing about road maps is that they can provide us with a vision, and this case is no different.
The starting point was the question of where we have to be in 2050, and that is clear: our greenhouse gas emissions must come down by 80 to 95%. You can then work back from that to tell what you need to live up to. That is good for the environment, for public health and for our economy, as the Commissioner has also just clearly highlighted once again. This will also give business the certainty that it is pressing so hard for. It provides the certainty to be able to actually invest responsibility in the low-carbon economy.
False promises, on the other hand, must be the worst thing that we can do for business. By false promises I mean sending out the message that actually we can take our foot off the accelerator when it comes to the CO2 targets. Yet how can we embrace the two degree target en masse without accepting the attendant consequences? That way lies the creation of false promises.
Mr President, quite honestly, I find myself once again feeling badly let down by the right-wing side of this House. Mr Davies produced a very balanced response to the Roadmap, but everything that could involve even a little bit of pain was then stripped out of it. Let us be honest: a low-carbon economy cannot be achieved in a painless way. We do have to have achieve a low-carbon economy, however.
Louis XV of France famously said ‘Après moi le déluge’ [‘After me, the flood’], and sometimes I feel that those words still echo here in Strasbourg, 350 years later. There is hope, however. At the end of his life, he distanced himself from those irresponsible words. Let that part of history, too, repeat itself.
Bas Eickhout, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – (NL) Mr President, I would like to thank the rapporteur for this report, which is certainly a balanced report on the future of our climate agenda, and above all on the future of the European economy. That is important, and that is why we are discussing it here.
The Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) in this House argues that we should perhaps be going somewhat slower, but I would like to point out that, at the end of the day, we are doing this because of the climate, and you cannot negotiate with the climate. If we do not begin to act now, we will feel the consequences in terms of climate change, and that will make things really difficult for our economy. We need to act now to prepare ourselves and to establish an economy, as Europe, that is prepared for the future and that can even play a leading role on the international stage. That is what this is about.
This report enables us to provide industry – which everyone is always prompting us to remember – with the certainty to invest. We are providing that certainty for precisely the industry that does want to progress. Who are we going to listen to, industry that just wants to remain stuck in the past or industry that wants to make progress? We need, for once, to choose the industry of the future, and that is what we are talking about here.
Commissioner Hedegaard, I agree that we have laid out a tremendous vision for 2050 here, but now we need to take action for right now. We need to tackle the emissions trading system now. We need to set the targets for 2030 now. We need to get moving on saving energy now. We need to take this action now as, because while the long term may seem far away, the necessary investments need to be made now.
You have a majority in the Council – 26 Member States are participating – and you will hopefully achieve a large majority here in Parliament shortly. The time for action is now.
Miroslav Ouzký, on behalf of the ECR Group. - (CS) Mr President, I would like to pick up on the words of the rapporteur, Chris Davies. Yes, he stated here that the EU emits about 12% of emissions, and I have long been saying that without global cooperation our efforts will achieve almost nothing. We are always going on about how we will save the world and set an example. I have heard such phrases throughout my time in this Parliament. So far we have achieved nothing, only more and more regulations and more and more burdens on our economy. To respond further to the words of Mr Davies; you know that it is not a matter of digging a few holes in the ground, but rather enormous structural changes for some countries, and the example of the car industry is not really appropriate. The European car industry has been wallowing in the red since the last set of regulations. I believe that any Roadmap for the future is a very good thing, but I would like to point out that if the map is glued to the front windscreen of the car, it may end in tragedy.
Sabine Wils, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. – (DE) Mr President, the current vote on the Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050 is of central importance. The lack of ambition in relation to European climate protection policy threatens the sustainable development of Europe’s economy. Dirty technologies, such as nuclear power and carbon capture and storage, are impeding a change in energy policy. The EU emissions trading system has so far failed as an instrument for climate protection and is undermining European climate protection policy. It shows that market-based instruments are not the way to combat climate change. Long-term climate protection means identifying binding targets for renewable energies and for the reduction of greenhouse gases.
Binding interim steps for 2030 and 2040 as part of the move away from the use of carbon in economic activity by 2050 will give industry some certainty in relation to planning. Ambitious climate protection with a long-term goal of 95% greenhouse gas reduction by 2050 in comparison with 1990 levels will promote innovation and create new jobs in the area of renewable technologies.
Oreste Rossi, on behalf of the EFD Group. – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the report presented by Mr Davies is restricted to providing unilateral and restrictive rules that have an impact on future climate legislation; they take no account, however, of the problems that would arise for European businesses and citizens from the application of such limits.
In recent years, Parliament has constantly been called upon to vote for measures that turn out, or will later turn out, to be inapplicable or require derogations. To give an example: let us take the measure on particulates, which all European production is in breach of; or the measure on energy efficiency, which if ever applied, will have a devastating economic impact on the economies of Member States and their citizens.
To contemplate making European businesses pay astronomic sums for securing CO2 allowances in the Emissions Trading System (ETS) market so that they can continue production is to seek the destruction of our economy. Our businesses are already struggling to resist unfair competition from third countries that not only do not have to comply with particular emissions limits but also have labour costs and hence costs of production far lower than ours.
What some green fanatics do not want to understand is that pollution is a global phenomenon and that when an industry closes in Europe and relocates its operations to a country that does not take part in combating climate change, this causes greater pollution and loses us many jobs. Logic suggests that if we are to make certain drastic choices, they must be made in conjunction with all industrialised and developing countries, and that import duties should be imposed on the goods coming into Europe from those countries that do not take part.
Nick Griffin (NI). - Mr President, be careful what you wish for because you may get it. This old saying is very true about reducing our use of hydrocarbons. By 2050 we will have a low-carbon economy for the simple reason that we will largely have run out of carbon.
All the increases in non-conventional hydrocarbons, including from environmentally catastrophic shale oil and gas fracking, are only just about keeping up with the worldwide decline of conventional oil production. The long emergency of peak oil has begun. Those who think we can deal with it by building wind farms and eating nut cutlets may mean well, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
The biggest threat is to food production. In agriculture, before the age of oil, for every calorie of energy invested by man, horse or ox, the average return was one-and-a-half calories. On that small surplus our ancestors built their cathedrals, painted their Rembrandts and wrote their Rights of Man.
Oil-based agriculture uses far fewer people to produce far more food. Its ratio is twenty-to-one. That is an input of 20 calories of oil energy for machinery, fertilisers and pesticides for every calorie of food produced. Today’s globalised world is a house of cards, built on the suicidally-unsustainable use of finite fossilised sunlight. This is the real carbon crisis which we need to address. If we continue to fail to do so, today’s children will look back in despair at all the time and energy that our generation wasted trying to kill the wrong pig.
Markus Pieper (PPE). – (DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, as we move further towards renewable energies, we shall have to make a decision. Do we take the path of more stringent environmental regulation with even stricter directives and regulations, for example in relation to buildings, industrial machinery or power stations, or do we take political measures and use emissions entitlements and quotas to provide market economy incentives for less environmental consumption?
At present we are doing both of these. The Davies report seems to further strengthen environmental law and at the same time restrict emissions rights. I am critical of this twin strategy. Is it not apparent that it is this increasingly stringent European legislation that is undermining emissions trading?
It surprises me that Mr Davies, as a Liberal, has ignored these issues. If it were up to him and the Liberals, businesses would have to pay twice: once for additional environmental regulations, then if CO2 emissions decline, the certificates will simply be withdrawn from the market, making them even more expensive, so that businesses will be asked to cough up yet again.
This policy is placing too much strain on the European Union. This means that we are helping to protect the environment by driving away business and industry. This cannot be allowed to happen, which is why the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) refuses to support the unilateral tightening of emissions trading provisions.
What we need is greater flexibility and greater room to manoeuvre at national level with the European environmental laws, for example the Energy Efficiency Directive. This would also enable us to optimise the European incentives framework by also transferring the Emissions Trading System to buildings and other economic areas. What is important is that we should achieve our savings targets in the end. I believe that the best way to achieve this is with a reliable framework. We should be working with business, not against it!
Marita Ulvskog (S&D). – (SV) Mr President, Commissioner, global emissions increased by 6% during 2010. In my own country of Sweden, the increase in emissions was into double figures.
This is a double burden. Firstly, the climate issue has been overshadowed by the economic crisis when it comes to setting priorities on the political agenda. It has been difficult for us to debate the issue of climate change. Other things have vied for attention.
Secondly, the lower levels of economic activity during the crisis ought to have led to generally lower rates of climate-relevant emissions, but that has not been the case. Sweden is one example of this, and there are very many more. Moreover, we ought to have taken the opportunity during this period of crisis to make long-term climate investments, which would help us to get out of the economic black hole. It should be an opportunity for us to make an economic recovery and to increase our competitiveness. We have not achieved that, either.
This means that we must continue to hold on to our ambitions. That absolutely goes without saying. We must lead the way. That is the EU’s and Europe’s task. We must seize every opportunity. There are some things that we have succeeded in achieving in this political assembly: resource efficiency programmes and the Energy Efficiency Directive, which entails binding energy efficiency targets. That is how simple and detailed climate policy can be.
I would just like to say to Ms Hedegaard that she has the most important mandate in the Commission. There are many people both inside and outside this building who will support her all the way, because she is safeguarding this agenda.
Theodoros Skylakakis (ALDE). – (EL) Mr President, we have a very good and balanced report on the current policy, but we do not have a good and balanced policy. Our international policy – to put it politely – has not succeeded; it has not brought about results and, based on what we can see around us, it is not expected to bring about results in the near future.
On the other hand, on the other side of the Atlantic, the political will cannot be taken for granted, which is why it is necessary, alongside the policy we are applying, to seek alternative international strategies.
Also, our policy on renewables has succeeded as climate policy, but has been a resounding failure as an industrial policy. Seventy per cent of panels, for example, are produced in Asia and seventy per cent are being used in Europe, subsidised by European consumers.
Thirdly, the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) and conditions in terms of carbon leakage have been completely overturned since 2008. The deep recession in Southern Europe, in conjunction with rapid industrial development in Turkey, for example, has turned the situation upside down. Turkey will have higher average emissions than the 27 this decade; and yet, it has not made any commitment and does not appear to have any desire to make a commitment on its emissions.
We need to rethink.
Satu Hassi (Verts/ALE). - (FI) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we must all recognise that the EU’s present policy on climate change lags behind what science is urging us to do. I would have liked Parliament to be able to state more clearly that our emissions reduction target, including the immediate one for 2020, should be tightened up.
In any case, this report supports the Commission’s Roadmap and the idea that we should also set milestones for 2030 and 2040, and, in this way, we will be paving the way for where we have to be by the middle of the century. This means that Parliament will be sending a strong message that the Commission should now take action and make legislative proposals. We cannot allow just one country, Poland, to prevent us from going forward.
Innumerable reports show that the technology exists and that the cost is very reasonable. Mr Davies gave an excellent example of this, and my own home uses the same sort of heating system that he described. Anyone who is concerned about costs should remember that the postponement of action also means the postponement of costs.
(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))
Lena Kolarska-Bobińska (PPE), blue-card question. – (PL) Mr President, we are always saying how important it is for industry to have a stable framework, that it is important to have a plan, a long view so that everyone knows how to proceed. However, on the other hand, you are supporting the idea of changing this plan, especially during the next 10 years. This will result in disorientation for industry and for investors, because this changes the plan immediately, right now. So the question is: do you not think that there is an inconsistency between the establishment of clear and stable rules and constantly changing them?
Satu Hassi (Verts/ALE), blue-card answer. – Mr President, I shall answer in English. Last November, the International Energy Agency published a grave warning. If we continue ‘business as usual’ it will mean that in five years we will have lost the possibility to keep global warming below a 2°C increase because the ‘business as usual’ investments made by then will have used up the room for manoeuvre which we have for global emissions. This means that, in practice, the International Energy Agency too has asked us to be more ambitious in our climate policies. We should listen to that very strong message.
Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). - Mr President, when we talk about climate change all too often we concentrate on the challenges rather than the opportunities. Cutting greenhouse emissions must go hand in hand with creating green jobs. I welcome this report’s call to increase the EU competitiveness in the low-carbon economy. We must support ventures such as the green enterprise in my constituency of London. Sustainable industry can drive the recovery, deliver energy security and help us meet our climate change targets.
London is also the world centre for carbon finance. Managing emissions is one of the fastest growing sections in the financial service industry. The EU should not interfere with the carbon markets. A readjustment which removes carbon allowances from the EU emissions trading system could be dangerous. It could lead to certain businesses locating outside the EU, which is unacceptable. While promoting green jobs we must also ensure that our existing industry remains competitive.
Tadeusz Cymański (EFD). - (PL) Mr President, whatever the political options, we all agree that it is our human responsibility to protect the environment. This also applies to reducing combustion of fossil fuels, which means reducing carbon dioxide emissions. However, the implementation of this programme cannot take place in isolation from economic facts and the circumstances in which individual Union countries find themselves. My country, Poland, has put in enormous efforts during the modernisation of the coal-based post-Communist economy and this also resulted in massive reductions in CO2 emissions. These measures involve real sacrifices and costs for our citizens. Investment in the energy sector reduces growth in other sectors. Even the current 20% reduction will be very difficult in our economic situation and will have a negative social impact.
The Polish veto is not a symptom of a lack of understanding, an unwillingness to conform or a desire for isolation, but results from a rational assessment of the situation and from an analysis of the restricted possibilities that are open to us. Furthermore, there is only one atmosphere on the earth and public opinion is shocked by the fact that the greatest polluters, the global economic powerhouses of the United States, China and India, have not taken any significant steps, which undermines our competitiveness and the entire point of the proposal.
Francisco Sosa Wagner (NI). – (ES) Mr President, of the many issues being discussed in this debate, I would like to emphasise that of the emissions trading market, a market that has certainly been flawed from the outset. However, the current restriction of allowances and the economic crisis have led to a drastic fall in the price of carbon; that is to say, the price has fallen so much that it is now cheap to pollute.
The design of the policy for this market therefore requires an urgent revamp, as its deterioration threatens all our green efforts and all of the European Union’s green policies. If emission allowances are not valued, it provides an incentive to increase emissions, polluting industries will not invest in new technologies and, worse still, the funding of important projects will be in jeopardy, such as, for example, energy efficiency projects or carbon storage plants. That is the risk. It is down to us, the Commission and Parliament, to address it.
Richard Seeber (PPE). – (DE) Mr President, I would like to thank the Commissioner and, of course, Chris Davies and our shadow rapporteurs for the report. I believe we have made a number of improvements here. It is important for us to have planning certainty. However, planning certainty naturally also means that we need to differentiate between legal instruments and proposals for the distant future. That is why it was so important for the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) that we should not interfere with the existing rules of the Emissions Trading System (ETS) up to 2020, despite the admittedly low CO2 price. However, we need to show our companies how they should be investing. We have also received incorrect market signals as a result of the current economic crisis.
The balance that needs to be achieved here not only relates to the internal fabric of the Community, but also to our competitiveness beyond our borders. I do believe that Europe has a very ambitious climate protection policy. May I remind you that Commissioner Hedegaard returned from Durban having scored a number of successes. Nonetheless, Europe must be maintained as an industrial location. It needs to be strengthened, not weakened. Otherwise I fear that the major polluters will simply move elsewhere, so that jobs will be lost and the climate will sustain further damage overall. As I have said, it is always difficult to make predictions about the period up to 2050. For this reason, I would like to read out a couple of predictions made in the past.
For example, Gottlieb Daimler once said: ‘The worldwide demand for motor cars will not exceed 1 million, not least because of the lack of available chauffeurs.’ This should perhaps give us pause for thought, showing as it does the reliability of predictions for the distant future.
Rovana Plumb (S&D). – (RO) Mr President, I would like to express my thanks for the proposals that have been tabled, and indeed to my rapporteur colleagues as well. The European Union certainly needs to maintain its leading position in the battle against climate change. Europe needs now more than ever to make investments and create jobs. Its citizens need jobs to be created. This is why investments in environmental protection can be regarded as a driving force for development, and the Roadmap which you, Commissioner, have proposed and which we support is a response to this.
However, we must bear in mind that the efforts made by Member States supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy are not the same, as their starting points are different and, by extension, their efforts for implementing this measure also differ. I welcome budgetary planning for European funds as it ensures funding for the projects which will result in greenhouse gas emissions being reduced, but which will also allow the disparities to be narrowed in terms of infrastructure between Member States.
The Commission must also review the emissions certificates trading system as the development of the carbon market is faltering and influenced by a host of factors. A balance needs to be devised between ‘set aside’ and the number of certificates relating to the post-2012 ETS.
Holger Krahmer (ALDE). – (DE) Mr President, Mr Davies is aware that I am a fundamental opponent of the plan we are about to decide on. Political plans – particularly ones with very long-term goals – have always existed. These plans always had one thing in common: they were superseded by reality. The fact is that it makes absolutely no sense to plan how the world will be in 2050. This presumes too much knowledge. A great many things are bound to happen to us before then that we have not planned and that we cannot know or predict. The targets we set ourselves are, in the final analysis, arbitrary. We find ourselves comparing years and percentages that actually only have one constant feature, namely that they end in zero. Their relevance in terms of climate cannot really be explained in objective terms. We could just as easily deduct five years from the dates or add 5% to the percentage points. This would be just as arbitrary, but a little more ambitious. Why do we not do this?
I would suggest that any of us still alive in 2050 should meet once again as venerable ladies and gentlemen to discuss the reality of these plans as part of a night’s entertainment. I have the feeling that would make a very entertaining evening indeed.
It is also high time that we realised that European climate policy is a failure in global terms. Our pioneering role is not accepted and no one pays much attention to our standards. I would simply remind you of the inclusion of the aviation industry in emissions trading. We must take a much more reasonable approach. We will only achieve success in climate policy if the rest of the world comes on board.
Yannick Jadot (Verts/ALE). – (FR) Mr President, Commissioner, you mentioned the European legislation on CO2 emissions from cars. This was already one of the Commission’s initiatives in 1995. Yet, faced with the lobby by large car manufacturers, what should have been achieved in 2005 will not be achieved until 2015.
I would like it if, at some point, democracy were allowed to function and citizens were able to see the transparency of what is being debated in Parliament, because those on the conservative benches who claim to protect the citizens are today abandoning them in the face of rocketing fuel bills. They are abandoning the workers in the face of the relocation of an industry that has failed to innovate and that has left our territories. They are abandoning the citizens of the whole world in the face of climate change.
Yes, we find ourselves in a complicated situation. We are facing a twofold problem. Firstly, we have governments that seem incapable of changing their software, incapable of imagining an economic model that is anything other than household debt, State debt or climate debt. Then, we are seeing lobbies in this situation that are stepping into the breach of this conservatism. Nuclear energy, carbon sequestration, oil sands and shale gas lobbyists are trying to take advantage of this political indecision.
Ms Hedegaard, your Roadmap is not perfect, Mr Davies’ report is not perfect, but it would be irresponsible of Parliament to validate the complete irresponsibility of Poland. We will vote for this report.
Konrad Szymański (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, the report proposes a significant tightening up of the European Union’s climate policy by, on the one hand, increasing reduction targets by up to 80% by 2050 and, on the other, by reducing the number of permits available on the market by letting them expire them before the third phase of the ETS. We cannot agree to this for both economic and political reasons. In Durban we all agreed that international negotiations would continue until 2015. There is no reason why the European Union should be making its climate policy more restrictive at this time without international agreement. This road leads directly to loss of competitiveness.
In Poland, the stricter climate policy would incur an annual cost of EUR 5.4 billion, which is more than half of all business profits, or all of industry pre-tax profits and, for this reason, the legislative proposal in this regard, even without the Council’s decision, would be a mark of extreme disloyalty not just to Central Europe, but also to European industry.
Roger Helmer (EFD). - Mr President, all over Europe we are sacrificing perfectly good coal-fired and nuclear power stations on the altar of environmentalism. We are trying to replace them with renewables. Wind turbines are blighting homes, communities and lives yet they deliver only an intermittent trickle of very expensive electricity.
This policy threatens our energy security while forcing up costs and undermining competitiveness. High energy prices are driving industry, jobs and investment out of the EU altogether and blocking economic recovery. Ironically these industries go to other jurisdictions with lower environmental standards so in one policy we damage our economies and increase global emissions.
We are promised green jobs yet repeated studies show that every green job destroys several real jobs in the real economy by forcing up costs and restricting growth. Across the Atlantic the US has discovered shale gas. America is looking forward to a new industrial revolution based on plentiful, cheap, indigenous fossil fuels. In the meantime in Europe, we shackle our industries with green dogma. Yet again the European Union appears to have a death wish.
(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))
IN THE CHAIR: GEORGIOS PAPASTAMKOS Vice-President
Yannick Jadot (Verts/ALE), blue-card question. – (FR) Mr Helmer, could you confirm that in Great Britain, EDF, E.ON and RWE are in the process of negotiating a feed-in tariff for nuclear energy of nine to 12 cents per kWh, a price that is currently higher than that of onshore wind energy, which is seven cents per kWh?
Roger Helmer (EFD) , blue-card answer. – No, I am unable to confirm that.
Gerard Batten (EFD) , blue-card question. – Mr President, I know that Mr Helmer is something of an expert on this subject, and wonder whether he can confirm or deny something that I have read in the press, which is that if Britain closed down all of its industry, took every British aeroplane out of the sky and every British car off the road, this would not actually make any discernible difference to the world output of CO2 emission gases. In fact, if we completely closed everything down, it would have no effect at all. Can he state whether that is true or not?
Roger Helmer (EFD), blue-card answer. – Mr President, yes, I believe the answer to that question is that it is pretty well true. If the whole of the British economy were completely turned off and we did not even burn a candle, China would make good the CO2 savings that we had achieved in a period of about 12 months.
Pilar del Castillo Vera (PPE). – (ES) Mr President, Commissioner, I am just going to go over two points very quickly. The first is possibly the most discussed issue in this report and that which has led to the most disagreement: whether or not to deal with the emissions trading mechanism.
It is clear that it is suffering like any other ‘market’, and it is suffering due to the downturn, but I think it would be wrong to intervene in this market. To intervene to try to improve prices, as is done in other sectors, would be a serious error. More growth is needed. What we have to do is give it a boost, so that we can emerge from the crisis and then the emissions market will return to how it was.
Secondly, when it comes to the Roadmap, as has been said here, there are a lot of uncertainties. If I had to draw up a map with different roads to take us to the final objective, which would be a low-carbon economy, there is one road, one route that is the main route: that of energy efficiency. In this area, we can indeed say and plan many things.
We have reached agreement on the Energy Efficiency Directive, with a huge effort made by all the parliamentary groups. This is the same agreement that my group and I would like to see reflected in today’s vote on the report we are debating. I honestly believe it is worth it. We managed it for energy efficiency, why can we not do the same with this report?
Matthias Groote (S&D). – (DE) Mr President, we are discussing the changeover to a low-emissions economy. We have heard a number of people today tell us that we should continue as before. Mr Davies’ report contains an important point: if we continue as before, this will cost 5% of gross domestic product in the future. A full 5% of gross domestic product if we continue as before! Accordingly, the contents of the report represent a start.
Naturally we are only responsible for 12% of emissions. However, if someone does not make a start, no one will. There will be a battle for resources and the lower our emissions in the future, the fewer raw materials we will consume. There will also be a radical economic impact if we fail to take evasive action, investing in renewable energies and reducing emissions from traffic.
We have made a start here. This is a difficult path, both within the EU and internationally, which is why we need more diplomatic activity around climate issues. The European External Action Service needs to play its part in ensuring more is done with regard to climate-related diplomacy. We resolved here to include aviation in the Emissions Trading System. At present this is encountering international resistance – to put things diplomatically. Nonetheless, we are on the right track. If the US, Russia and India develop a similar system, then we will of course be willing to cooperate with them and to show them the hand of friendship. Nonetheless, someone has to make a start. That is what we have done. It will also be evident in economic terms that we made a start in good time.
This is a good report and everyone in the Chamber today bears some responsibility in making this report a success. We cannot afford for the report to fail, like its predecessor, the Eickhout report. That would be a completely destructive signal to the citizens of Europe and the world’s public at large. Hence my call to all my fellow Members: each of us must move a little from our positions if this report is to be a success.
Evžen Tošenovský (ECR). - (CS) Mr President, the debate on this report is highly complex and, in my opinion, risky for the development of some sectors in Europe. We must remain constantly vigilant to the danger of over-regulation, in order to avoid a dramatic deterioration in the competitiveness of European firms. The report itself draws attention to this threat at several points.
I agree with the need to increase the efficiency of energy systems. Improving efficiency can develop new fields. A reduction of the burden on the environment and a decline in CO2 emission will then be a secondary effect. The best thing we can do is to concentrate on supporting research and speeding up innovation cycles. Account must also be taken of the development of individual Member States, and the right to a national energy mix, including a role for nuclear energy. It would be wrong for the ‘green economy’ to emerge only from political and administrative efforts supported by regulatory instruments across the EU. I see a serious danger of an artificially-created and subsidy-fed economy which could become totally non-functional in the longer term The first negative signals might be a transfer of production capacity outside the territory of the EU, as the report also states.
Elisabetta Gardini (PPE). – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I have to say that I am rather concerned. I hear words such as ‘success’, ‘failure’, ‘leadership’, but we ought to agree on what these words mean, because I think that today we shall be voting on a very complex text, that many of us shall be voting on matters with great unease, choosing the lesser evil, and that we are not going to vote out of conviction. There is no unanimity, as is plainly shown by the vote in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, where this resolution was passed with just 32 votes in favour, with 24 against and five abstentions. Therefore, we should not fool ourselves that we are all in agreement and that we are all marching happily towards the abyss that Europe alone is opening up for itself.
Have you seen what is happening with the Emissions Trading System (ETS)? Aviation is a case in point: European companies are writing desperate letters, arguing that these things should be regulated at a global level. Where can Europe, with its 12% of emissions, go by itself? It is going over a cliff-edge, and we are going there singing, satisfied and happy!
What is leadership? It is not quitting, as our quite excellent fellow Member, Mr Leinen, said. However, neither is it not quitting. Leadership consists in persuading, but we have persuaded no one. Let us look in the mirror, let us tell ourselves the truth, then let us read the Eurobarometer – our citizens are sceptical about this crisis. Let us instead examine our conscience; let us begin to see things as they really are, not as they appear in our dreams. Leadership is difficult, it wins hearts, but it must persuade, if we are not to be quite, quite alone. A leader is a step ahead, but not miles ahead; to be miles ahead is to be alone. Please let us take a reality check. Thank you.
Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D). – (NL) Mr President, we believe that this is a tremendously important report and it seems to me extremely important that we should send out a clear signal but, if I am not mishearing the right-wing side of this House, it appears that is still a little difficult.
No clear decisions were taken today in the Council and the truth is that that is entirely down to the arguments there. Let me reiterate – and perhaps the Commissioner will have to bring this up in the discussions in the Council – that this is not only an important dossier from the point of view of the climate and global warming, but also from an economic perspective.
The economy will have to be low carbon by 2050; there is no alternative. The question is whether we can take the decisions today, whether we can provide the legal framework, whether we can put the right regulations in place for our industry to have the certainty it needs to invest and for our governments to have the resources to do what has to be done. This simply takes courage. It does not make sense to simply exploit the argument at this point that now is just not the right time and that we need to save the economy. The economy needs to be saved over the long term, and that has everything to do with the low-carbon economy.
I therefore hope – and when I say this I am looking at those on the right-wing side of this House with common sense – that we will soon make an unambiguous decision and send out a clear signal to the Council and the rest of the world, as that is what we need to do if our children, too, are to have a future.
Françoise Grossetête (PPE). – (FR) Mr President, Commissioner, I wanted to return briefly to what my colleague Ms Gardini said, because I am obliged to mention that Mr Davies’ report was approved in our Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety by a very narrow majority. This is a good reflection of the fears that have been expressed by some of our colleagues regarding the current direction of the text.
Yes, we have a Roadmap for 2050, but do we not still need to deal with what was adopted in the energy and climate package for 2013-2020? Modifying the Directive on greenhouse gas emissions allowance trading before it is even fully applied and implemented in 2013 could be perceived by market operators as a serious legal instability risk. This would damage the credibility of the carbon market and, in my view, it is a poor solution to a real problem. Some are complaining that the carbon price is too low. This is, unfortunately, due to the economic slowdown. Is it not in the interest of the market mechanism to reach the lowest price? In the past, when this system was being put in place, people rightly feared that the price of carbon would not rise.
Let us not be more royalist than the king. We must be very careful not to harm the competitiveness of our industries – I am referring to airlines, as has already been said. I would also like to mention China, which has put its Airbus purchases on hold in protest against the new European tax on carbon emissions in the aviation sector. Is that what we want?
I am therefore particularly concerned because what seemed to be a solution for the environment must not become a potential source of trade disputes.
Jolanta Emilia Hibner (PPE). - (PL) Mr President, first of all I would like to thank my colleagues for their work in preparing amendments for the final text of the report, in particular MEPs Romana Cizelj and Markus Pieper. Many of the clauses are good, but many are problematical and even bad. The summits in Cancun and Durban showed that the European Union does not have any support for CO2 emission reduction obligations of 25% by 2020. Despite this there are amendments in the report introducing such clauses, contrary to the global view. It was with great difficulty that the European Union managed to introduce the European Emissions Trading System in 2007. This system was to have been the medicine that cured European industry by a flow of additional funds for new technologies. Changes to the ETS in its first years of functioning are dangerous, as they dismantle the entire system.
The report excludes all coal-based energy and does not allow for the possibility of developing research and innovation in this sector, although in fact coal is the only natural resource available in Europe for power generation. Today, we must ask ourselves the question: what sources of energy is Europe to have now and in the future: coal – excommunicated; atomic energy – forbidden; gas and oil – from sources outside of Europe; biomass – small quantities and/or at the cost of changes to agricultural land management, stopping cultivation for food; wind and solar power – which cannot be stored in batteries, because this technology does not yet exist; shale gas is already social enemy number one. Where should Europe go next? Perhaps we shall transfer all of our industry to Asia and America and only leave tourism here. Yet how will we earn our livelihood?
Christa Klaß (PPE). – (DE) Mr President, a competitive, low-carbon economy by 2050 is the declared aim that we all whole-heartedly espouse. We have already defined the staging posts on the way to achieving this goal. There is absolutely no reason at present to change this Roadmap. This applies in particular to the Emissions Trading System, which is still more or less in its infancy. Each of us knows how dangerous it is to push the speed too far or to change course when an aeroplane is taking off. Likewise in this report, we also need to recognise and incorporate the existing measures.
We are addressing the whole economy. This is the right and necessary thing to do. There is absolutely no reason to point a finger at agriculture in this report, as is the case in paragraph 2. Everyone must play their part in reducing CO2 emissions. Agriculture is always the focus of European environmental policy at present. We are presently in the middle of discussions in relation to a new European agricultural policy. This involves serious debate about realistic targets and we should avoid getting prematurely bogged down with numbers in this report. The current common agricultural policy imposes stringent requirements in Europe for healthy, sustainable production. This applies to foodstuffs and to the production of biomass and energy in equal measure. Europe is already distinguishing itself from third countries in terms of energy production. I would ask you to accept this. This is also the focus of the amendments tabled by my group. I would ask the House to vote in favour. It is only by meeting each other half way that we can reach an acceptable compromise and achieve a good result.
Peter Liese (PPE). – (DE) Mr President, Ms Hedegaard, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to discuss the agreement with regard to the Energy Efficiency Directive. All groups support a wording that will enable us to achieve a 20% energy saving by 2020. This will also create the right conditions for meeting ambitious environmental targets.
This wording also deals with the Emissions Trading System (ETS) on a cross-party basis. We support cautious intervention in the ETS, avoiding hasty, uncontrolled actions. Parliament’s message is very clear, however: there is a need to act here. The Commission needs to present a plan. This is also set out in the compromise that the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) has negotiated with Mr Davies. I would like to discuss paragraph 94 of the report. Unlike the topic as a whole, the formulation in relation to aviation in the Davies report is uncontroversial. There are no amendments and I expect it to be adopted. We support the Commission here. We call on the Commission to implement the legislation in relation to aviation. We should not cave in to threats from third countries. This would have serious consequences for other political areas, such as the financial market and trade. The Court of Justice of the European Union has confirmed that we are right. There is not a court in the world that finds us wrong. If we give in now, there will be serious consequences.
Nonetheless, Commissioner, we want to see the legislation implemented in its entirety. This also requires that we do everything thing in our power to negotiate with third countries, and that European aviation should not suffer discrimination. We want an international solution. Take this as your cue: negotiate by all means, but do not give in!
‘Catch the eye’ procedure
Mairead McGuinness (PPE). - Mr President, I wish to thank the rapporteur, and also to thank Christa Klaß for mentioning agriculture more substantively than has been done thus far in the debate. There are many pressures on agriculture. We have this debate this morning, we have the CAP reform, which has a 30% greening component about which there is much concern, and we have the Commission’s proposals on LULUCF, which have not yet reached Parliament but which have serious implications for agriculture.
I would draw the Commissioner’s attention to the reaction from farming organisations – remember that they are the practitioners and it is worth listening to what they have to say – who consider that the Commission’s proposals are neither feasible nor coherent given the current level of understanding, and that scientific knowledge concerning carbon capture and storage and emissions from soils, and the effects of different management methods on these, is still far from complete.
We need to be very careful about imposing more accounting rules on farmers, and to be mindful of the content of paragraph 95 of this report, which encourages the Commission to come up with measures but also to take particular account of the role of agriculture as a producer of food.
Gilles Pargneaux (S&D). – (FR) Mr President, Commissioner, allow me just a moment to express my approval of the Roadmap such as it has been presented to us by Mr Davies and which we have supported within the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
At the same time, when we are faced with a resolution like this one which sets a limit – and we must always bear that in mind – we realise, as we have heard in some of the speeches from the other benches this morning, that this limit may be somewhat lacking in visibility, in transparency, because there are many measures, particularly economic measures, which suggest that things will not be done as they should.
When we look at the position of a number of our leaders, we get the impression that you are, at times, somewhat isolated. I would therefore like it if you could reassure me, Commissioner, that your conviction, such as you have always displayed, will continue to forge ahead in this way, in spite of the difficulties we may face in this area.
Alajos Mészáros (PPE). – (HU) Mr President, Commissioner, the Member States of the European Union used to be at the forefront of industrialisation and fossil fuel consumption. It is therefore natural that we, too, must do our share in combating carbon emissions. Member States must supplement their emissions trading schemes with technological and innovation-based solutions in order to achieve the necessary reductions. Today there is a surplus of emission allowances, which has driven down their prices to such an extent that they are only able to influence our industrial investments to a slight degree. In order for us to be able to secure the future of our industry we must considerably expand our investments.
To predict now what the European economy will be like in 2050 is not an easy task. If we are to succeed in this field we must act in keeping with our energy efficiency efforts and must also refrain from excluding our nuclear reactors. We must not sacrifice the dynamic development of our industry and competitiveness on the altar of decarbonisation. The Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) endeavoured to ensure this balance in its report.
Riikka Manner (ALDE). - (FI) Mr President, firstly I wish to thank Mr Davies for this excellent and balanced report. It investigates some very important moves towards a low-carbon economy, and, in my opinion, it also proposes some very coherent and realistic policy measures as well as the need, in particular, to invest in the green economy.
We now need to work together and we require some very immediate action, for us to be able to progress towards a low-carbon economy, and we need cooperation between the various areas of policy on agriculture, cohesion and, of course, the environment. Energy policy is indeed crucial in all this, as we are talking about how we will replace carbon. I actually disagree with what my fellow Member said earlier on, that we would not be able to find a way to replace carbon in the use of renewable forms of energy. In my view, there are good prospects for doing so, in the shape of both biomass and wind and hydro-electric power.
Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz (PPE). - (PL) Mr President, Commissioner, I am not against a low-emission economy based on modern technologies, but I am against a lack of common sense and a desire to ignore that the emperor has no clothes. According to the report published in World Energy Outlook, during the period up to 2050 over 50% of global energy will continue to be produced from coal. In this light, an independent European Union emission reduction policy, without energy alliances with the largest global users of coal, is doomed to failure.
We cannot afford the closure of steel mills and factories that is taking place at an alarming rate in front of our eyes – what is known as ‘carbon leakage’ – and the transfer of production to the Far East. This is quite simply hypocrisy. As, for the period until 2050, the European Union is the greatest advocate of low-carbon technology, why does it not allocate additional funds to research relating to the use of the most effective energy source, which is the sun, and to methods for transporting solar energy from outside the earth’s atmosphere and why does it not cease focusing on the least effective but very costly programme, which is the so-called renewable sources of energy? I am calling for balanced development, particularly in the area of emission reduction, so that the poor do not have to pay penalties for the emissions of the rich.
Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE). – (RO) Mr President, both Member States and regions must definitely help achieve the low-carbon emission targets by 2050. However, we need to be aware of how difficult it is to meet these targets. The report has drawn our attention in the transport sector to the need for a cultural shift towards using new, more sustainable modes of transport. The encouragement of new forms of investment, so as to facilitate the modal shift to greener modes of transport and reduce the need for transport, as proposed by the report, will involve dealing with specific regional situations. The lack of a suitable infrastructure, especially in poor regions where there is a low level of IT use, will create a number of problems relating to accessibility.
A cultural shift needs to be supported by measures which will not affect citizens’ daily lives, especially their jobs. In my view, to meet this challenge, we need to have total harmonisation of sectoral policies at European Union level and involvement from every institutional level.
Karin Kadenbach (S&D). – (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to make a few remarks using the catch-the-eye procedure. We have heard several speeches today that could lead to the impression that things will not become more expensive if we just keep the status quo. I would like to thank Mathias Groote for pointing out that it is not just a question of quality of life, a healthy environment, clean water and clean soil for the future, but that it is also necessary to think in a business-like way.
After all, what we are risking today with a CO2-polluted environment is soaring future costs, not just in the health sector, but also for the entire economy. When I hear people say that tar sand and fracking are the alternative technologies of the future, then I find myself wondering where some of my colleagues have been in recent years. We are talking about a low-carbon future and instead we are hearing proposals that would have exactly the opposite effect.
I would like to thank Mr Davies for this well-balanced report. I think there are just a couple of points to add: we need a policy that deals with people’s present situation, while also looking a little way into the future.
(End of the ‘catch the eye’ procedure)
Connie Hedegaard, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, I would first like to thank Mr Peter Liese for the very clear way he condensed what must be the European response to the discussion over ETS and aviation. Of course Europe cannot give in to threats: that I think and hope will be clear to everyone here. We are very much engaged in trying to get the global agreement that we have been working for since 1997 through ICAO. As we speak there is an ICAO meeting in Montreal, where EU Member States are very well represented and are fighting hard to try to set ICAO on track to an international global way of regulating aviation as the global sector that it is.
The Commission is also there, and we are now posting two people there permanently for a period to work with ICAO in order to push things forward as best we can. So we are following exactly the two strands that Peter Liese was clearly saying that European policies should be based on.
Mr Leinen asked me about the Commission’s strategy vis-à-vis Poland. I noted with great interest yesterday that the Vice-Premier of Poland, Mr Waldemar Pawlak, very clearly stated in the Polish press that, for instance, when it comes to energy efficiency, he saw the very large potential in Poland, also in economic terms.
There will be ways forward. Some of the more unfortunate part of the discussions up to and in the Council last Friday was probably that it was as if the milestones that we are discussing should apply today, as if we were talking binding targets and specific effort-sharing at this stage. That is all for later. Of course we also have an EU budget which could help some Member States to make a transition and achieve energy efficiency and more efficient grid systems and so on. I am sure that there are good ways forward when it comes to what we have seen from Poland.
There was another question on shipping. We are now analysing options for shipping, as we were asked to do by the European Parliament. Last year we had a number of meetings with stakeholders where we were discussing options forward. So that work is being done in the Commission.
Mr Ouzký asked what the point of all this is without global cooperation. To make it very clear: there is global cooperation. It is not bringing the world fast enough to where it should be, but I think that Durban was proof that it is possible to push international climate negotiations forward a little. One of the outcomes of Durban was that all countries of the world now admit that we have to be equally legally bound by 2020. That has been a key ask for Europe for many years as well as from this Parliament, so it is just one example that things are moving forward – but too slowly. To focus on energy efficiency and renewables will also be in our own industrial, economic and job-wise interests. It is not either-or; it is both the international track and also what we do in our own region.
To mention just one fact: even Poland is importing energy from outside. So this is also about our economy and our energy security. Last year in Europe we paid EUR 315 billion for our oil (imported oil – just the oil part). That is a lot of money. Our trade deficit was USD 115 billion if you take us all together. EUR 315 billion is a very, very large burden macroeconomically speaking. It would be good if, through intelligent climate and energy policies, we could reduce that kind of bill and at the same time increase our energy independence. I agree with Ms Yannakoudakis, who said that we should also look at some of the possibilities here and not just at the challenges.
The final two points. Ms Gardini said: look at the Eurobarometer. Yes, please do: look at the Eurobarometer. A new one on climate was produced last autumn, the first since 2009. Never have the Europeans been as concerned about climate change, and they asked for intelligent climate policies which also address energy efficiency, energy security and can also lead to growth and jobs in Europe. So please look at the Eurobarometer.
The last point. Mr Cramer said that it was crazy to plan for the future. I think Mr Cramer is expressing a view that many would take when discussing 2050, as if we did not have enough challenges here and now. I think that it is totally irresponsible not to plan for the future – especially here, because the kind of investments you are talking about when it comes to energy systems, for instance, lock in your energy choices for the next 40, 50 or 60 years. That is why short-termism will not work there. It is clear, however, that when you are talking about 2050 there is – and should be – a limit as to how detailed the policies you can come up with are.
What we are doing here is setting a direction. We are, as mankind, at a crossroads. Where do we go? Which road do we choose? Do we follow business as usual – that is, do nothing and continue to build on fossil fuels, which we know will be more expensive, restricted and limited in the future, knowing that that will only make things worse? Or do we use our knowledge, our technologies, man’s ingenuity to pursue a cleaner and greener kind of growth? That is the kind of choice we have to make, and we have to make it now. That is the whole point of the Roadmap: the sooner you make that choice, the more cost-efficient the transition will be.
Neither I nor the Commission is in doubt as to which way we should choose, but I am glad to note that a very large majority in this European Parliament is also not in doubt. I thank you very much for that.
Chris Davies, rapporteur. − Mr President, I do not know who timetabled this debate but I do not think it was one of their best days!
I would ask the House to remember that I am not asking you today to support the report that was carried in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety by a small majority. Rather, I am asking you to vote for the joint EPP/ALDE amendments and the report, and to take into account the fact that we have made compromises here in order to try to secure a large majority for reform in this House.
I will just touch on a couple of issues. Firstly, the emissions trading scheme (ETS). This is a market mechanism, but it is not a perfect market mechanism. A huge surplus of allowances has built up and that needs correcting. When the ETS was launched the Commissioner at the time said that we were going to learn by doing. We are still learning. Roger Helmer of the UK Independence Party said that wind turbines were useless and were driving industry across to China. Well, he should then answer the question why, if that is the case, China is building more wind farms than the whole of Europe put together?
When we look at the green economy or the low-carbon economy, I do not like to talk about wind turbines, as that is too easy. I like to think of the Rolls Royce factory in Derby in the United Kingdom, where they are building engines for the A380 Airbus. This is very advanced technology. These engines can allow us to meet the aspirations of travel but do so by using less fuel and producing fewer emissions. Ms Grossetête, that is not undermining Europe’s competitiveness; it is ensuring that we can maintain it and strengthen it.
Some see the Roadmap and the proposals that will come forward from the Commission as a result as a threat. I see it as a challenge, and also as an opportunity. I have heard UKIP – and indeed Ms Gardini – saying that we should just carry on as we are and should not make changes unless the rest of the world does. It all sounds quite easy, with some degree of common sense. But that is not building a better future for Europe. It is just condemning us to the slow lane. It is allowing us to fall backwards, overtaken by the technological developments of the Far East.
We can accept that not all of us in this House want a green future, but we should not opt for a black future. We should be going forward to a bright future.
President. – The debate is closed.
The vote will take place at 12.00 today, Thursday, 15 March.
Written statements (Rule 149)
Ivo Belet (PPE), in writing. – (NL) I am convinced that we, as the EU, are choosing the right path by resolutely striving for a low-carbon and carbon-neutral society. Of course, this needs to be done in a balanced way, in other words without naively shooting ourselves in the foot. We have a population of 500 million people in the European Union, but unfortunately that is not enough to bring a halt to global warming on our own. We need to bring China, India, the United States and other emerging economies on board. That is why it is so important that five American Nobel prizewinners yesterday made a very clear call to President Obama to support the EU measures to combat CO2 emissions from aircraft. The cost of this measure hovers around EUR 2 per ticket. We must not give up on this ambition because it also obliges the other major players to take a position before their own public opinion and make clear where they stand when it comes to combating global warming. Parliament therefore also supports Commissioner Hedegaard’s policy with a large majority and asks for the implementation of the emissions trading scheme (ETS) policy in aviation to go ahead.
Adam Gierek (S&D), in writing. – (PL) The Union under its current management reminds me of an old man who ‘ambitiously’ flexes his muscles even though he is about to kick the bucket. The report and communication bring to mind the mutterings of a person with a high temperature, higher than the proverbial two degrees of global warming. There is no point in putting forward any amendments, but any stupidity can be harmful and this demands a strong reaction.
My questions are therefore: 1. Why does the Commission want to ‘save the climate’ at the cost of Poland’s economy, harming the social conditions of its citizens? 2. Who will be the principal beneficiary of speculation on the CO2 emissions market? 3. Which of the Union’s states will become more competitive and which will become less competitive? I am not expecting any answers. You would have to delve into the reasons why the climate doctrine has become politicised, a doctrine in which the Commission appears to have blind faith. It is difficult to argue with faith. Or perhaps it is not a question of conviction, just a cynical climate game? The Polish veto is a signal for the Commission to return to normal functioning.
Filip Kaczmarek (PPE), in writing. – (PL) The very title of Chris Davies’s report: ‘a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050’ contains a contradiction, which, in my opinion, has affected the whole proposal. This title is misleading, but it would be simple to change it. We should add a question mark at the end. I am sure that no one today is able to prove that by 2050 it will be possible to reconcile these two values which are so important to us: competitiveness and reduced emissions. It certainly does not work at present. On the contrary, the unilateral reduction of emissions in Europe is reducing the competitiveness of the European economy. Perhaps at some point it will be possible to reduce or reverse this dependency. The problem lies in the fact that at present we do not know how to do it and whether it will even be possible. Wishful thinking could put our economy into serious difficulties and already there is no lack of problems. An important and integral part of the issue of emissions is its global nature. European efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases will not have much impact if we do not introduce solutions that are able to regulate emissions effectively at global level.
Béla Glattfelder (PPE), in writing. – (HU) I welcome the fact that the report took significant account of the opinion I had prepared on behalf of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. European agriculture could make a substantial contribution to the reduction of EU carbon emissions while creating new jobs, especially in rural regions. The primary way for farmers to facilitate the achievement of climate protection goals is through the production of renewable energy sources, in particular biogas, which can also serve as a means for them to supplement their income. When utilising agricultural products for energy purposes, care must be taken not to jeopardise food security or cause a rise in food prices. In order to increase energy efficiency and reduce pollutant emissions the coordination of relevant EU policies is required. Therefore, rural development funds and other Community financial funds should in future only support investments that are energy efficient, and in particular those that focus on the use of renewables. One of the main issues afflicting farmers is rising energy prices. By increasing their energy efficiency and utilising agricultural and forestry residues as energy sources they could reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. This way European farmers could not only contribute to the fulfilment of climate protection goals but could also considerably improve their competitiveness.
Jaromír Kohlíček (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (CS) The report by Chris Davies is full of interesting information and very bold objectives. After the collapse of talks with the largest air carriers in the EU, it will be interesting to see how the report’s ambitious objectives develop. The statement that China and India have overtaken the EU in the production of photovoltaic cells requires further explanation. If it is due to the fact that the EU is too bound by various regulations and directives, then we must first and foremost resolve this administrative anomaly. The emphasis on central heating in cities is interesting and realistic, and reducing the number of permits to emit CO2 by 1.74% annually is certainly a very bold plan. The reduction of CO2 emissions by up to 20% of 1990 levels by 2050, and the progressive targets obtained through linear interpolation may be taken as political declarations and good will. On the other hand, it is right to emphasise the priority of securing food and animal fodder production when exploiting the energy potential of biomass. The support for research and developed mentioned in the final passage is of fundamental importance. The proposal to earmark 20% of the European Regional Development Fund for investments in energy saving, the development and introduction of low-carbon technologies and innovation support raises question marks. In my opinion, there is a lack of emphasis on the forthcoming 8th Framework Programme for Science and Research. The greater part of the report is unfortunately just wishful thinking, although the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left does support the stated objectives.
Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE), in writing. – (FI) The Commission is right to make long-term plans for the EU to have a genuinely competitive low-carbon policy by 2050. It seems odd, however, that the many targets which the Commission has proposed, and which some of my fellow Members support, will do just the opposite for the EU, especially when we consider the global realities. In all the steps we take, we need first of all to examine what is happening in the area of international climate policy. If we now decide on unilateral action to make emissions cuts by up to 95%, through action not bound by any international climate agreement or linked to any equivalent emissions cuts in third countries, we will arrive at a situation where competitiveness is just a distant dream.
The symptoms of our climate policy are already visible, both in the economy and in our employment situation, and there are no real environmental benefits either. In the long term, we should not get locked into what are already expensive solutions or work out our plans based on them. We should instead endeavour to create for our industry an operational environment that encourages investment and innovation in more efficient technology. Additional, unilateral commitments are not an incentive, when we realise that our emissions represent around 11% of the total globally. They will stifle our economy. That is why, in the report before us, I am concerned about the desire to intervene artificially in emissions trading and to manipulate allowance trading prices politically. This would be a very dangerous move, which would render our industry completely incapable of planning any measures in the climate policy environment that we would be creating, and it certainly would not encourage technological development.
Emissions trading is working in accordance with its aims – to reduce emissions. With a tighter emissions ceiling, emissions would fall as planned, and the arm’s length price would be determined with reference to each economic situation. The incentives for moving to new, more efficient technology are created by offering the opportunity for innovation, and not by taking it away by tightening the screws.
Sławomir Witold Nitras (PPE), in writing. – (PL) Mr Davies’s report is potentially harmful even though it is packed with noble ideas such as overcoming European dependency on imports of fossil fuels and popularising electric road transport. We all understand how important such ideas are. However, the rapporteur has not taken into account the costs associated with implementing the requirement to reduce CO2 emissions by 80-95% by the year 2050, which is the principal assumption in this report. In countries such as Poland, which produce 90% of their energy from coal, this policy will not only bring about enormous price hikes, but also bring about losses in the industrial sector, its relocation as well as high unemployment.
In addition, another clause in this document assumes the introduction of changes to the recently created emissions trading system. This could undermine the credibility of the European Union among investors and business, whose support is vital in times of crisis. Another shortcoming of this report is the fact that we are setting goals for ourselves without knowing whether the 2020 strategy is going to be successful and while we are ignorant of the outcome of international climate negotiations, which are expected only in 2015. To summarise, this report goes too far into the future, contains provisions that are potentially harmful and is too ambitious for a region that produces barely 12% of global emissions.
Valdemar Tomaševski (ECR), in writing. – (PL) Mr President, Mr Davies’s report on a Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy by 2050 requires thorough analysis and an assessment of the provisions it contains as regards their impact and the effects that they will have in the future. I cannot agree to the introduction of new restrictions on Member States for a failure to comply with the already very high CO2 emission standards for European Union Member States. The unilateral fight – involving only Europe – against global warming is becoming a threat to the competitiveness of economies in individual countries. This is also a threat for the economic security of our citizens.
The measures proposed in the report would result in a significant increase in energy prices and manufacturing costs in the Union’s new Member States, which is unacceptable. The enlargement of the Union was supposed to assist economic growth in Central and Eastern Europe. However CO2 emissions trading and the proposal for a rapid transition to a low-emission economy will put the brakes on this growth. The ideological battle against global warming cannot slow down growth in the new Union members. Rapid implementation, as proposed by the report, will increase the already large gap in standards of living between old and new Member States. The promotion of a low-emission economy will result in a cooling down and not a strengthening of the European economy. Nature should be protected, but not at the cost of thrusting half of Europe’s inhabitants – and only those of Europe – into poverty.
Rafał Trzaskowski (PPE), in writing. – (PL) The proposal by the rapporteur to stop using fossil fuels by 2050 is as ambitious as it is unrealistic. Such proposals for top-down central planning of the emissions trading system are unacceptable. The present proposals fail to take into account the specific characteristics of individual Union Member States. We can move forward together towards the goal of emission reduction, but not by means of a single solution for all Union members. For Poland, a drastic reduction in carbon dioxide emissions also means increased dependence on imported sources of energy.
Vladimir Urutchev (PPE), in writing. – (BG) There is no doubt about the need for us to have a clearer vision of our economy in a few decades time, following the scenario imposed for decarbonising industrial activity and energy. However, this must be done in the most cost-effective way, while preserving and increasing our economy’s competitiveness, which is not clearly visible from the Roadmap for 2050 and the European Parliament report.
We have actually focused only on carbon dioxide as the other greenhouse gases are not affected to the necessary extent, although restricting them does not cost the economy and people as much. I share the serious concerns that imposing new, even higher targets both for 2020 and beyond in order to reduce carbon emissions, or modifying their trade system will introduce legislative uncertainty and send the wrong signal for planning business investments. There is no need for mandatory targets for emissions after 15, 20 and 30 years, which will undergo significant changes during this period, as we learn in life.
What are needed are benchmarks or indicators showing the direction and acting as a means of monitoring the effectiveness of the measures taken. Achieving complete energy decarbonisation will not be possible with renewable energy alone. All low-carbon energy technologies, including nuclear and clean coal technologies, will make their contribution, especially outside the EU.
Zbigniew Ziobro (EFD), in writing. – (PL) I read the provisions in this report with some concern. It is like a description of the worst nightmare facing European business, full of internal contradictions. It completely ignores differences in economic development between the countries of the so-called ‘old Union’ and its new members. A good example of this is the section concerning the emissions trading system. It takes no account of the specific characteristics of fuels used by different economies, which is enormously unfavourable to countries using coal and could result in reduced investment in some industry sectors and the relocation of production facilities. In the report, the author completely ignores this fact, and focuses on increasing emission thresholds.
According to experts, it will also not be possible to comply with the provisions concerning diversification of energy sources or to find a zero-emissions source by 2050. The report presents the financial aspects of the Climate and Energy Package in too general a manner, while the investment costs in Poland alone for modernising the energy sector have been calculated as EUR 86 billion by 2030. The report is also dangerous in that, contrary to global trends and diplomatic realities, it postulates a unilateral reduction in emissions. However, the EU is already producing the lowest level of greenhouse gases. For this reason I am again calling for prudence and for the contents of the report to be rejected.