While many of the EU’s environment ministers are still dithering over a possible move to 30% emissions cuts, it is heartening to see that big businesses are a step ahead.
29 companies, including BNP Paribas, Google, Unilever and Vodafone, have put their names to a declaration calling for tougher climate targets that has been sent to the EU institutions. The declaration supports recent statements from ministers from Denmark, France, Germany and the UK that higher emissions reductions will boost growth and create jobs, a point of view made forcibly by EU Commissioner for Climate Change Connie Hedegaard at an EWEA-organised debate last week in Brussels.
Ironically, the organisation BusinessEurope, which represents EU employers, was claiming almost at the same time that increasing the EU’s emissions reduction target would be “premature and even counterproductive” in a letter to the Belgian EU Presidency. It seems that some in the business community are more far-sighted than others in recognising the huge economic and job creation potential of zero-carbon technologies like wind energy. Certainly EWEA, which has 650 members including many businesses, believes an increase to 30% emissions reductions is crucial for Europe’s economy as well as its environment.
Last week, the 27 EU environment ministers again delayed coming to a decision on a possible move to greater emissions cuts, asking the European Commission to present further analyses of what it would mean for Member States in its 2050 roadmap for a low-carbon economy, due out in 2011. Environment ministers would do well to listen to what their brightest business leaders have to say or they will miss the boat and Europe’s green technology leadership will be snapped out of its hands by the hungry Chinese and US giants.
The business declaration is led by the Climate Group, the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership and WWF Climate Savers Programme. It is supported by: Acciona, Alstom, Asda, Atkins, Barilla, BNP Paribas, BSkyB, Capgemini, Centrica plc, Climate Change Capital, Crédit Agricole, DHV Group, Elopak, Eneco, F&C Asset Management, GE Energy, Johnson Controls Inc, Kingfisher, Google, Marks and Spencer, Nike, Philips Lighting, SKAI Group of Companies, Sony Europe, Standard Life, Swiss Re, Tryg, Thames Water, Unilever and Vodafone.