Tuesday, 6 December 2016

EU Committee of the Regions ENVE Commission - When the word 'Ambitious' means less than the word 'Higher'

Words are important. They convey meaning, intent and in these strange days, even occasional understanding. So when one of the right wing groups on the ENVE Commission of the EU Committee of the Regions sought to change the word 'higher' to 'ambitious'  with regard to the emissions targets in the work plan for the Commission that dealt with Energy, Environment and Climate Change the alarm bells started ringing.

The word they wanted rid of was 'higher' the one they wanted to replace it with was 'ambitious' with reference to the targets agreed to address climate change at COP 21 in Paris. Currently as signatories to the Paris Climate agreement the EU (and the UK) are signed up to a 30% reduction in carbon emissions but democratically elected MEPs in the European Parliament have been calling for a 40% reduction. So another 10% at least is higher. Of course if you want to replace the word 'higher' with the word 'ambitious it rather implies that you don't want it to be higher. Ambitions vary from individual to individual and from nation state to nation state. One state may have limited ambition another much greater BUT you can't dodge the reality of the science and that says we need to be striving for much higher reductions in emissions than is indicated in the Paris Climate Agreement. Those calling for 'ambitious' targets were really seeking to protect the status quo of the existing economy. The problem is that current levels of emissions supporting our polluting economy are ecologically unteneable. We need to develop a new clean economy based on renewable energy , demand reduction and energy efficiency. That is where the real ambition lies.

I and others made the case to retain the word 'higher'. We had a vote. We were successful.

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