European members see EU leadership as good for climate, good for business

2 December 2009

BRUSSELS  - Over 60 representatives from business and regional government across Europe called for EU leadership at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen at The Climate Group's first continental Europe members meeting in Brussels on 24 November. 

Hosted by the Government of North Rhine-Westphalia, discussions focused on the policies needed to enable financing of the EU's climate change commitments and support the scale up of low carbon technologies. 

With just a fortnight remaining before the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen, speakers and participants alike underlined the need for the EU to strengthen its leadership, both internally and on the international stage. There was broad consensus on the need for a "stable, predictable and credible" policy framework from Copenhagen, followed by rapid implementation at the national level.  "Uncertainty creates incentives to wait," said Rory Sullivan, Head of Responsible Investment at Insight Investment

But while participants emphasized the need for certainty, many TCG members are taking a lead by not waiting, but instead seizing the opportunity and developing new products and services for a low carbon future now.  "There is no need to wait." said Amit Yudan, Europe Business Development for Better Place - a global provider of electric vehicle services. "Deployment is possible in the short term and we must focus on the regional government level for implementation."

However, participants agreed that markets alone won't deliver emissions reductions in time or at the scale necessary, but that the scale-up of technologies requires innovative forms of financing, an effective multi-level governance as well as public-private partnerships.

Ross Loveridge, Senior Energy Policy Advisor for the Scottish Government said: "Scaling up the low carbon technologies for deployment to meet the climate change targets requires action in our legal, financial, technical and regulatory systems - and also simultaneously in our opinions, behaviours, skills and leadership."

Participants pledged for EU-wide leadership, including the swift adoption of the 30% reduction target, reform of the EU budget to give greater focus to climate an energy issues and cooperation to build the infrastructure needed to enable deployment of different renewable energy resources and smart vehicle and building solutions.

The Climate Group member's meeting also heard from representatives from the European Commission including Jos Delbeke, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission's Environment Directorate. "The EU has a key role in building trust" in the negotiations and must be commit to immediate action, he said.

Alicia Montalvo, Director-General of the Spanish Climate Change Office said that, come January when Spain takes over the presidency of the EU, the Spanish priority will be to keep the momentum and strive for a legally-binding outcome within the next six months. "There is no time to waste," she said.

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