Climate Change: A letter to EU Leaders

Taoiseach Brian COWEN, Fredrik REINFELDT, President of the European Council, and José Manuel BARROSO, European Commission President and others

I am writing to urge you to do all that you can to ensure the crucial EU Council meetings at the end of October deliver clear EU commitments to deal with climate change. These must put the needs of the world’s poorest people – who are being hit first and worst by climate change, but who are least responsible for causing it – at their core.

The Council meetings at the end of October provide the opportunity to finally agree an EU position: this may be your last chance to agree firm commitments ahead of the crucial UN climate summit in Copenhagen this December. The right EU offer in October can set the global talks ahead of Copenhagen alight, and give us all the best possible chance of tackling the climate crisis.

To do this the EU must commit in October to:

* providing an additional €35bn per year by 2020, to help poor countries to adapt to the effects of climate change and to develop in a low-carbon way. Not only does the EU have a historical obligation to do this, but it has the money to finance it.

* guaranteeing that the money generated from the laws you and your fellow European leaders agreed last year, requiring heavy industries in Europe to pay for their carbon pollution, will be directed straight to the people that need it most in tackling climate change. This money is a drop in the ocean compared to the billions raised to bail out banks since last year.

* crucially, this €35bn must be new public money, not taken away from existing aid commitments. The response to climate change should not come at the expense of investments in vitally needed services in poor countries, such as hospitals and schools.

* agreeing a target for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions strong enough to avoid catastrophic climate change. This too is vital to break the deadlock in negotiations in the lead up to Copenhagen. The EU should agree a reduction of 40%, from 1990 levels, to be achieved by 2020.

I urge you to do all you can to ensure the EU takes this month’s vital opportunity to make these firm commitments on climate change. Failure to help poor countries adapt to climate change and develop in a low-carbon way, and to prevent future catastrophic climate change, is simply unthinkable.

The above is a letter sent by me as part of an Oxfam International campaign on Climate Change. You can send you own letter by visiting Oxfam’s website and filling in the details

More about the Oxfam campagn:

This October, European ministers and leaders will gather in Luxembourg and Brussels where they will attempt to nail down a cross-European plan to tackle global warming.  These meetings are Europe’s last chance before all-important Copenhagen climate talks.  And by the end of the month, we’ll know whether they’ve chosen a path of bold climate leadership, or whether they’ve locked us into a climate disaster — with the world’s poorest people left to feel the impacts of global warming first and worst.

Oxfam has launched a united, Europe-wide response to pressure our leaders to rise to the challenge. In Germany, Italy, Ireland, the UK, and every country in between, we’re going all-out and sending emails and faxes to Prime Ministers, Presidents and Chancellors — urging them to put the needs of the world’s poorest people at the heart of climate negotiations.

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Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for SpirtualityIreland.org and UCC Express.

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