• EC still seeing environmental problems, not opportunities

    The European Commission remains too fixated on the costs of tackling climate change, and is not seeing enough of the opportunities, or the hidden costs of delaying action.


    That is the message from the latest report on the EU’s environment strategy from the “Green-10”, an alliance of 10 Brussels-based environmental NGOs which includes T&E. Despite giving the Commission a score of 7 out of 10 for its strategy on climate change, its overall poor performance in the other 15 areas analysed led to a total score of just 4.3.

    The Green-10 welcomed the EU’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020, but said it needed an attitude change to achieve this. John Hontelez of the European Environmental Bureau said: “The Commission still sees environmental issues as primarily a problem for the economy and a problem for competitiveness. Only when it leads to direct efficiency gains is it prepared to act.”

    A statement by the Green-10 said the Commission’s approach to the environment had generally been that if something is good for the environment, it must be bad for the economy. It added that Jose Manuel Barroso’s fixation with jobs and growth in the early months of his presidency blinded him to some sustainable economic options.

    On transport, the Green-10 gave the Commission five out of 10, saying it should focus on demand management, introduce the “polluter pays” principle in transport pricing, and introduce legislation for new cars that doubles their fuel-efficiency by 2020.

    • The European Parliament has created a temporary committee on climate change. It will have 60 members and will exist for a year to prepare a report on the EU’s role in a post-Kyoto global initiative to combat global warming. Environmental interests feared the new committee would take powers away from the environment committee, but this appears not to have happened.

    This news story is taken from the May 2007 edition of T&E Bulletin.