A low carbon energy future is becoming a reality through thousands of initiatives across the EU, but a stronger lead from Member States and the European Commission on public engagement is needed to meet the climate change targets.
This was the clear message that came out of the conference, “Energy futures and civil society in the EU – building a low carbon alliance” which took place on 20 June. A range of initiatives from local grassroots energy generation and efficiency programmes to major national programmes were presented as part of EU Sustainable Energy Week.
Anna-Maria Darmanin, EESC vice-president, said in her opening speech that "public debates about energy and engaging citizens are important to Europeans for obvious democratic reasons". Stéphane Buffetaut, chairman of the EESC Section in charge of energy, added that "such public debates must take place at all levels: EU, national, regional and local, to ensure consistency in the