Alongside the meeting of European environment ministers convened to develop a common position for the Climate Summit scheduled for this December in Paris, a group of NGOs have rallied to call for a decisive transition to renewable energy usage. The call-to-action took place on Friday morning in front of the Justus Lipsius building, the headquarters of the European Council in Brussels.
The NGOs behind the action were Change Partnership, Climate Action Network Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace, Nature Code, Oxfam, Transport & Environment and WWF. The activists staged a tug-of-war, one side dressed in black to represent fossil fuels, the others wearing colours to symbolise renewable energy sources. “It’s the big petroleum companies which benefit financially from fossil fuel energy, while renewable energy is beneficial for everyone,” said Gwendoline Viatour, the spokesperson for WWF. “It’s about time our political representatives started moving towards saving life on earth. Temperatures have increased rapidly in recent years. The West still feels protected but the heat waves are killing many vulnerable people. Europe is perceived to be the world leader in climate change, and the decisions it makes today will have a huge impact. They will serve as an example for other countries around the world.”
Europe’s ambitions are still deemed insufficient by the NGOs. “They talk about a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030, but estimates show that the developed countries of Europe would have to go as high as 55%,” insisted Julie Vandenberghe, an expert for climate and energy policies with WWF. “Belgium is one of the worst performers. The Federal Government and the Regions have been unable, over the course of 5 years, to conclude an agreement to allocate resources to achieving Europe’s targets. This could be the first step towards development of a coherent climate policy.”