The EESC is currently drafting an opinion that aims to define what "the sustainable economy we need" should look like by exploring new economic models, investment decisions vis-à-vis technological advances as well as novel indicators for growth and competitiveness.
Sustainable Development Observatory - Related Opinions
The EESC supports the adoption of a legally binding agreement in Paris and strongly supports the EU's negotiating position. The Committee believes that the EU can play a leading role by demonstrating that climate policy and positive economic development go hand in hand.
A key point from the EESC’s perspective is the role of civil society in this process. A broad-based global civil society movement has emerged that is now calling for rigorous climate protection efforts. Agreements must meet with broad public approval and support from businesses, trade unions and other groups of civil society.
The Committee has received a request for an exploratory opinion from the incoming Latvian Presidency, which recommended to look at the following aspects in regard to the agricultural and forestry sectors: rural development, social aspects, regional contribution and the potential in achieving objectives and the "self-sufficiency" of the EU in the fields of food and renewable energy. A holistic assessment and approach is required in order to facilitate the reduction of GHG emissions without hampering the sustainable development and competitiveness of the EU.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) believes that the prospect of a European circular economy should bring a major boost to the systemic competitiveness of the EU, a driver for growth and a generator of new green jobs and skills.
The Committee welcomes the two communications and the package of amendments to the waste directives and supports the campaign to make all businesses and consumers aware of the need to phase out the current linear economic model of "take, make, consume and dispose" .
Adopted at the plenary session of 15-16.10.2014
The Committee considers the European Union's Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to be a key instrument in EU climate and energy policy for reducing the EU's industrial emissions, and, therefore, calls for its genuine reform aimed at achieving both the EU's climate objectives for 2020 and 2030 while safeguarding our industrial competitiveness and avoiding investment leakage. The EESC supports the proposal to establish a market stability reserve at the beginning of the next ETS trading period in 2021, as a possible measure to deal with post-2020 ETS price volatility.
The EESC recommends taking a decisive step towards a real European Energy Community by coordinating national plans, particularly with a view to securing the EU’s energy supply, providing more information on plans to step up action in the non-ETS sector, particularly in the transport, agriculture and land use sectors. And taking radical action on innovation and research as the providers of real solutions to the challenges, in combination with measures to promote the manufacture of equipment for the low carbon economy, while and ensuring that delivery by industry is supported by better training, and making the international development of climate policies the top priority and in parallel paying more attention to adaptation to climate change.
The effect of the current financial and economic crisis has put energy pricing under the spotlight because of the impact on household energy costs in the context of austerity and on industrial competitiveness of high energy prices. The importance of Market Based Instruments (MBI) is that they must both advance the transition to a resource-efficient and low carbon economy and support economic recovery. Environmental and climate policies should not be seen as a burden in the recovery from the fiscal and economic and social crisis, but rather as a part of the solution. The Committee urges the Commission to make environmental fiscal reform an integral and permanent part of the European Semester.