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de Brún speaks at Friends of the Earth ‘Ring the changes on climate - countdown to Copenhagen’ event

6 December, 2008 - by Martina Anderson MEP


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún speaking at the 'Ring the changes on climate - countdown to Copenhagen' event organised by Friends of the Earth at St Anne's Cathedral today, Saturday 6th December, has said that the Executive integrated strategy on adapting to Climate Change and to set out how we are going to meet our carbon emissions targets.

Ms de Brún was speaking at the event before travelling to Poland to participate in the UN Climate Change Conference in PoznaÅ„, Poland.

Ms de Brún is a member of the European Parliament Environment Committee and the Temporary Committee on Climate Change.

The event took place on the steps of St Anne's Cathedral from 11am until 12pm on Saturday 6 December.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"We are in a period of great economic uncertainty. But the economic crisis should not be used as an excuse to row back on the progress made to date on setting targets for emissions reductions. If anything, the economic downturn should embolden us to make the jump to the new, green economy more quickly so that many of the old problems of oil demand and energy consumption can be dealt with.

"Investing in new technologies, and moving much more decisively to renewable energies as well as energy efficiency can create more jobs, lower energy bills and indeed saves lives as well as livelihoods.

"The world needs to see renewed momentum and commitment in order to reach agreement by the end of 2009 in Copenhagen.

"Important issues in Poznań will include capacity-building for developing countries, reducing emissions from deforestation (REDD), technology transfer and adaptation. In the European Parliament we are working to reach agreement by the end of the year on a package of legislation to give effect to the targets set by the EU last year to have 20% renewable energy, 20% energy efficiency and a 20%-30% reduction in emissions relative to the 1990 level by 2020. But we are not seeking just any deal. The EU's international credibility on the road to Copenhagen depends on not doing a u-turn on any of our commitments."

Ms de Brún also pointed out the need for local action saying:

"There needs to be a detailed Executive integrated strategy to set out how we are going to meet our carbon emissions targets and adapting to Climate Change. This strategy should spell out how each sector of the economy and society can contribute to reducing these emissions. The recently published Scottish Climate Bill shows the direction that we can and should go." ENDS

Note to Editors

The Poznań UN Climate Change Conference aims to:

  • Agree on a plan of action and programmes of work for the final year of negotiations after a year of comprehensive and extensive discussions on crucial issues relating to future commitments, actions and cooperation;
  • Make significant progress on a number of on-going issues required to enhance further the implementation of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol;
  • Advance understanding and commonality of views on 'shared vision' for a new climate change regime; and
  • Strengthen momentum and commitment to the process and the agreed timeline.

Other important issues will be capacity-building for developing countries, reducing emissions from deforestation (REDD), technology transfer and adaptation.

Text of speech (check against delivery)

"Today's action takes place against the backdrop of the UN climate change talks in Poznań. I'm delighted to speak here today before travelling to Poznań on Monday as part of the European Parliament's Climate Change Committee delegation.

The world needs to see renewed momentum and commitment in order to reach agreement by the end of 2009 in Copenhagen. There are some suggestions that there may even be some further high level meeting between Poznań and Copenhagen as the new US government will not take over until January 2009.

Important issues in Poznań will include capacity-building for developing countries, reducing emissions from deforestation (REDD), technology transfer and adaptation. A number of proposals have been tabled on financing the fight against climate change in developing countries and it will be important to get agreement on these in the coming week.

The EU took the lead in Bali last year in arguing for a strong and effective future climate deal. Europe also made very specific commitments about actions to be taken inside the EU to tackle climate change as well as a promise to help developing countries.

As we move on programmes of work for the final year of negotiations ahead of Copenhagen, on a "shared vision" for a new climate change regime and on reaching agreement in Poznań on a number of issues around financing actions, it is crucial that the EU lives up to its fine words.

In the European Parliament we are working flat out to reach agreement by the end of the year on a package of legislation to give effect to the targets set by the EU last year to have 20% renewable energy, 20% energy efficiency and a 20%-30% reduction in emissions relative to the 1990 level by 2020 (known as the 20/20/20 targets). But we are not seeking just any deal. The EU's international credibility on the road to Copenhagen depends on not doing a u-turn on any of our commitments.

"There needs to be a detailed Executive integrated strategy to set out how we are going to meet our carbon emissions targets and adapting to Climate Change. This strategy should spell out how each sector of the economy and society can contribute to reducing these emissions. The recently published Scottish Climate Bill shows the direction that we can and should go.

We are in a period of great economic uncertainty. But the economic crisis does not undermine the need for fighting climate change and should not be used as an excuse to row back on the progress made to date on setting targets for emissions reductions. If anything, the economic downturn should embolden us to make the jump to the new, green economy more quickly so that many of the old problems of oil demand and energy consumption can be dealt with. Investing in new technologies, and moving much more decisively to renewable energies as well as energy efficiency can create more jobs, lower energy bills and indeed saves lives as well as livelihoods.

There is some new hope with the US back at the negotiating table and Barak Obama taking over as US President early next year. China is also showing a willingness to engage on actions needed provided agreement can be reached on technology transfer. We must add to these hopeful trends not take away from them.

So we must press our MEPs and our governments to move on action inside the EU and on reaching a good deal for the developing world. Our emissions reductions need to be made at national, regional and local level. We can't continue to export our problems outside of Europe. There must be no watering down of the EU 20/20/20 targets on renewable energy, energy efficiency and emissions reductions in the final stages of bringing through this new legislation. And we must commit and earmark specific funds from auctioning revenues to help developing countries, going far beyond the clean development mechanism that has been used to date.

The latest scientific evidence shows that climate change is happening faster and to a greater extent than was thought to date. Inaction or half-hearted action now will lead to far greater costs in the future." ENDS

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