Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-10-25-Speech-3-256"

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"Mr President, there are three important documents we have to discuss today concerning one of the greatest challenges by far that we face, that is to say climate change. For a northerner from an area where the temperature at this time of year rarely exceeds seven degrees and where it pours with rain, the thought of a warmer climate perhaps appears attractive at first sight. It is not as simple as that, however. The climate changes we face are hardly positive in their implications for any of us. Instead, the scenario is exactly as it was described just recently: full of storms, rain and floods. To these must be added changes to the flora and fauna. Life will have changed out of recognition, and it will scarcely be very pleasant either. The three documents on climate change which the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy has dealt with may be regarded as documents representing different periods of time. The resolution on the conference in The Hague is that which is closest to us in time. It presents the view of those of us in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy, and hopefully also the view of the European Union, of what we think must happen in The Hague. It has been characterised by considerable unity, which is a good foundation to have now that the conference in The Hague is beginning. The resolution signals a clear need for the Kyoto Protocol to be signed and for it being the industrialised countries which must head up the efforts to halt climate change. It also emphasises very clearly that the flexible mechanisms must only be complementary to the national measures adopted. I am glad to hear that this is also Commissioner Wallström’s view. I think the draftsman of the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy has given a clear message that we do not consider three representatives from the European Parliament at the conference in The Hague to be sufficient. I am also pleased that Mrs Wallström says that the Commission’s proposal is for eight representatives. The European Parliament and those within Parliament who work on environmental issues must be taken seriously at some stage and not only be used along the lines of figureheads when it is convenient. When regular meetings and regular updates during the conference in The Hague are talked about, it is also important to emphasise that these must be constructive. It is important that MEPs’ viewpoints should also be taken on board so that it is not just a case of one-way communication. The resolution on emissions trading is a good document, but it has been further improved following the amendments tabled by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy. The most important additions include the clear indication, exactly as found in the COP 6 document, that emissions trading itself must not represent more than 50 per cent of the measures to reduce emissions. It is also important that measurable objectives be required for each country and for each sector. There must also be legally binding measures obliging the Member States to comply with their quotas. There is also a certain amount of concern about the fact that certain sectors have been left out of the Green Paper, for example the transport sector. We presume that this work will be included in the next document, concerning the strategy and measures to be adopted by the EU to reduce emissions, and that the transport sector will not be forgotten when we discuss climate change. The message is very clear: the principle must be that emissions, no matter what their origin, must be covered by some instrument of control, be it in the form of emission rights or of legislation, but there must be practical limits and instruments of control for each type of emission. Many have had doubts about the proposal for emissions trading, especially when it comes to the socio-economic consequences. The fear, quite simply, is of a loss of employment and a concern that companies will play different industries off against each other. I believe we have taken account of these doubts and of this concern in paragraph 13 of this resolution, and I hope that this will reassure at least some of those who have felt concern. I want to emphasise that there is an obvious mistake in the Swedish version of this paragraph. Only half of the amendment published in the Swedish document has been adopted. The third document is perhaps the most important in the long term. It deals with the strategy and measures to be adopted by the EU in order to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. It also concerns what is really required, namely to change our own way of life if anything is to be achieved. This is a welcome document. It would have been still more welcome if it had been clearer and more practical, but we hope it will be clearer following the amendments adopted by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy."@en1

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