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COP23: radical political will needed to achieve Paris climate change commitments

03/10/2017

COP23: radical political will needed to achieve Paris climate change commitments

Almost a year after the ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change by the European Union, MEPs debated the parliament´s position ahead of the 2017 UN climate change conference, known as COP23.

State parties to the agreement will gather in Bonn between 6 and 17 November to discuss implementation and financing for the commitments made to limit global warming to well below two degrees celsius.

Spanish MEP Estefanía Torres Martínez will represent GUE/NGL at the COP23 talks. She called on the EU to contribute its fair share of money to assist developing countries´ adaptation:

“COP21 was the conference of decisions, out of which came the Paris Agreement. COP22 was meant to be the conference of solutions, but rather it was the conference of paradoxes. Now I will tell you what COP23 should be: the conference of financial commitments or we will be late, very late.”

“We urge this Parliament to support developing countries in their transition towards a low-carbon society, to make them more sustainable and more secure. But we ourselves must stop serving the markets and start to serve people. Do we really believe that EU trade policy is compatible with the fight against climate change? It is not,” Torres Martínez affirmed.

“We have said many times: until there is a change in the model of economic growth, there will be no way to alleviate the environmental deterioration of the planet. We need a profound change in our productive system. Energy transition: yes. But we also need changes in the global agri-food system.”

“The battle for the climate is political and faces two worldviews. At this COP23, we hope that the worldview of women, especially of working women and indigenous women, will gain prominence. Not the worldview of the energy lobbies and multinationals who speak through many of our governments.”

Cypriot MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis urged the conference participants not to diminish their resolve after the Trump administration decision to withdraw:

"We call on the EU to cooperate with China and other states - regardless of Trump’s intentions - to support developing countries, and to develop a comprehensive action plan to end the reckless use of natural resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote renewable energy sources."

German MEP Stefan Eck proposed a radical approach to save the planet:  

"The time frame to limit global warming to 1.5 or event 2 degrees is becoming smaller and smaller. There is only one course of action: to reorient policy-making towards a concern for the planet and its people, instead of the current obsession with economic growth and profit-making for corporations.”

Eck, a committed vegan, pointed at the elephant in the room, the global meat and dairy industry:

“I will never be tired of stressing that the global meat and dairy industry is responsible for about 18 percent of CO2 emissions and, according to recent studies, another 20 percent is caused by the clearing of land for livestock farming.”

“We need alternative trade agreements, climate friendly and sustainable transport systems, a solidarity economy and global struggles for climate justice and against the exploitation of natural resources.”

“There would be a lot to do in November - whether we reach the climate goals is a question of political will," the German MEP concluded.

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