Non-state and subnational actors have so far played a decisive role in action on climate, but they often face unsurmountable obstacles. At the COP 24 climate change conference in Katowice, Poland, on 2-14 December 2018, the president of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Luca Jahier, stressed how urgent it was to tackle climate change and underlined the fact that Europe needed to embrace a new mechanism for sustainability that included multi-stakeholder governance.
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Shortly after the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report of 8 October urging countries to massively shift towards a new paradigm, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has adopted an opinion arguing for a "finance-climate pact" to ensure the financing of the necessary transitions. With the EU budget for the period 2021/2027 about to be adopted, the EESC tables the most ambitious proposal among the EU institutions: 40% of the EU budget should be devoted to the fight against climate change and its consequences, be it environmental, economic or social.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), together with ECOLISE, the European network for community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability, and the Committee of the Regions (CoR), held the conference on "Civil Society and Municipalities: building sustainability through collaboration" on 20 September. It took place as part of the 2nd European Day of Sustainable Communities.
In September 2017, I was approached, in my former role as SDO President, by a coalition of non-state actors called the Europe Ambition 2030 Group who wanted to build on the "Rethink Europe" letter signed by the former President of the European Council, former prime ministers, former Commission vice-presidents, the current WTO executive director and former ministers of finance and labour, experts in finance, statistics, food security, gender issues and European policies, and other distinguished persons. The letter invites Europeans – both state and non-state actors - to "rethink Europe"’ in connection with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN Agenda 2030 "Transforming Our World".
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) urges the Commission to be more rigorous in facilitating consumers' access to new, cleaner and affordable forms of mobility, and to introduce stronger financial support for public transport. The opinion on "Achieving low emission targets", which was adopted during last week's plenary session, discussed the Commission's proposal on how to effectively reduce gas emissions produced by road transport.
Effective integration of legal migrants and refugees will benefit Europe's labour markets, plagued by skills and labour shortages. If tackled properly, the migration challenge could be turned into a real opportunity not only for our economies but also for our society as a whole, participants in the European Migration Forum (EMF) concluded last week.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) backs the Commission's proposals on CO2 emissions from passenger cars and commercial vehicles as a balanced compromise between the objectives of climate-neutral mobility, the innovation capacity of the European automotive industry and preserving quality jobs. However, the EESC draws attention to potential challenges to employment, which depends on the pace of the structural transition in the automotive industry.
A European Dialogue would give European citizens' climate change action a huge fillip
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) proposes a European Dialogue, whose main goal would be to accelerate climate actions by making engagement more attractive to the multiplicity of non-state actors, particularly by facilitating the implementation of climate change actions
Guaranteeing adequate funding to finance the enormous energy transition project is an issue very dear to the Workers' Group, with major investment needed to achieve a fair transition to a low carbon economy, creating quality jobs. These were the points debated by our Group, Commissioner Arias Cañete, and experts Pierre Larrouturou and Jean Jouzel.
After 2017, a year marked by an unprecedented series of climate disasters, climate change is the primary global challenge we have to tackle together. Today, international commitments place us on a trajectory of over 3°C global warming, which is a long way off the objectives of the Paris Agreement adopted two years ago, which aims to limit rising temperatures to below 2°C, 1.5°C if possible. We can therefore see that much greater efforts are needed – a real revolution in our production and development methods. – writes Anne Chasagnette, Member of the Employers' Group