2010-10-31: At lunchtime on Friday, 29 October 2010 … European Union (EU) Commissioner, Ms. Connie Hedegaard, in charge of European Commission DG CLIMA (the new Directorate General for ‘Climate Action’) … addressed the Institute of International & European Affairs in Dublin.
While Connie’s Speech was not subject to the Europa House Rule … the Question & Answer Session, afterwards, was.
Note: IIEA’s Europa House Rule … Irish equivalent of the Chatham House Rule … ‘ When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Europa House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.’
Most importantly, I wanted to find out whether Europe will maintain its air of insufferable arrogance at the upcoming UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Cancun Summit, which will be held in December (2010) … and be excluded from critical stages in Global Climate Change Negotiations, as was the case in Copenhagen last December (2009) ??? I was not reassured that we have learned from those humbling experiences !
One small case in point … in Europe, we are still messing around with talk of limiting the rise in Global Average Temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius above Pre-Industrial Levels. However … it was demanded last year, in Copenhagen, that this rise be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius … or lower … particularly by the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) ! Have we listened ? No ! NGO’s in Ireland … please also take note !!!
However ! Some good news for a change … the European Commission will produce, sometime early next year in 2011, a strategy document on ‘2050 – A Low Carbon Society in Europe’ … that is just a gist of the title, so please don’t quote me … which will also contain related EU Performance Targets for 2030. 2020 is just around the corner, folks !!
Also … Climate Change Adaptation, in Europe, will be given far more of a policy emphasis. Up to recently, there has been little interest in this subject. But the truth is dawning … Mitigation is failing, and Europe is already suffering from the adverse impacts of Climate Change. Practical ways and means are now being identified, therefore, to integrate Adaptation widely into other European Union Policies and Instruments.
In 2009, the European Commission’s White Paper: ‘Adapting to Climate Change – Towards a European Framework for Action’ [COM(2009) 147 final] was published. Next year, following consultations, the Adaptation Framework will make its appearance … and will be promoted with vigour ! So I hope !!!
During the Question & Answer Session which followed Connie Hedegaard’s Speech, I raised the following two issues …
1. Missing from the 2009 Adaptation White Paper … the Press Releases, Speeches, and Memos, etc. on the DG CLIMA WebSite … and her Speech at the IIEA on Friday … is any serious or meaningful reference to Sustainable Human & Social Development in all of her work on Climate Action. I strongly suspect, now, that she does not fully understand the meaning of the concept … which involves far, far more than being ‘use-efficient with the earth’s resources’ !
And … would Connie ever consider acquainting herself … properly … with the EU Treaties ? She might then discover the many substantive references to ‘sustainable development’ … and none to the ‘green’ society, ‘green’ this, or ‘green’ the other !!
2. As usual, European Union (EU) Climate Change Data & Statistics were confidently presented by Connie at the IIEA … some, not a lot ! However, there is a major question mark hanging over those statistics … are they Reliable ?? At European level … the experts in the proper management of data and statistics work in EuroStat, which is located in Luxembourg. I visited, there, at the end of June 2010.
However, Europe’s Climate Change Statistical Databases are managed by the European Environment Agency (EEA), which is located in Copenhagen. Does the EEA have the required expertise to manage these Statistical Databases ? No ! Is EuroStat being excluded from making an input into the management of these Databases ? Definitely … Yes !
In question, and in serious doubt … this is the recent EEA’s European Topic Centre on Air & Climate Change (ETC/ACC) Technical Paper 2010/4: ‘Approximated EU Greenhouse Gas Inventory for 2009 – Short Report for EU-15 & EU-27’ … please examine it carefully for yourself.
ETC/ACC Technical Paper 2010/4 was the basis for the Official Statement by Connie Hedegaard, dated 2010-09-10, on the Estimates for EU Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2009, published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) ! She said …
” The sharp drop in overall EU Greenhouse Gas Emissions last year is not a surprise seen in the light of the economic crisis. But the EU Emissions had already been falling steadily for several years before the recession hit, putting us well on track to meet or even over-achieve our Kyoto Protocol Targets. This is thanks to the armoury of policies and measures implemented over the past decade, which have succeeded in breaking the automatic link that used to mean that economic growth translated into higher Emissions. However, as the economy picks up again we can expect the drop in Emissions to level off or even be reversed temporarily. It is therefore very important that the EU and Member States continue implementing the climate and energy package and the other measures needed to meet our 2020 Targets. And of course I hope that the new strong figures also can inspire the necessary debate on how fast the EU can reach even more ambitious targets.”
Just to get you started … please note how the Kyoto Industrial GHG’s (HFC’s, PFC’s and SF6) have … not ! … been handled in this Technical Paper …
September 2010 – ETC/ACC Technical Paper 2010/4
Click the Link Above to read and/or download PDF File (671kb)
Embarrassing, isn’t it ??? VERY !!!