We’ve disturbing news to relate on climate change progress.
We’ve learned from a Guardian story of a Leaked memo showing business tactics to undermine the EU’s revised 2030 climate change targets.
BusinessEurope, the Brussels based group of business interests in Europe – which includes Google and Facebook as well as IBEC– has advised its members to oppose the ‘new increases of ambition’. This is happening as the European Commission is considering whether to set more ambitious climate goals in clean energy, carbon cuts and energy efficiency. Key changes are energy efficiency target increases from 30% to 32.5% and increased renewable energy targets from 27% to 32%.
The issue will be determined in Dec. at an EC conference in Katowice, Poland.
The leaked memo, obtained by Greenpeace Europe, comes as a UN draft report due for publication in October is known to be calling for ‘rapid and far-reaching’ changes.
BusinessEurope will ask big companies to agree a “line to take” on the prospect of steeper carbon cuts.
BusinessEurope calls itself ‘the leading advocate for growth and competitiveness at the European level, standing up for companies across the continent and campaigning on the issues that most influence their performance.’
BusinessEurope’s members include household names in the energy and technology sectors. Many of them have spoken of the need for strong action on climate change.
What has the leaked memo revealed?
It is a discussion on how best to discreetly frustrate the proposals.
- BusinessEurope members are advised to use ‘the usual arguments of global playing field, we can not compensate for others, etc.’
- They invoke the usual tactic of attacking the messenger. It calls for companies to challenge the process itself, ‘such as the need for more transparency on the calculations, the need for an impact assessment & the risk of creating instability, etc.’
- What is key, according to the 13 September memo, is to ‘minimise the issue, arguing instead that ‘we need stability to mobilise investment’.
Our colleagues, Friends of the Irish Environment, have called on IBEC to oppose the organization’s strategy. FIE is urging them instead to support reforms to Irish legislation. This is preventing the country from making the transition to renewable energy. We support this initiative.
Call to IBEC on climate change.
As Ireland’s business representative on the BusinessEurope organization, IBEC must not lobby against increased targets for renewable energy in Ireland. We need to be ambitious on this one.
They should ensure that the Government removes the legal roadblocks that are preventing the smooth shift to sustainable development. These include
- limitations on the domestic use of solar energy, notwithstanding the recent SEAI increases in grant aid, which does not go far enough
- the discrimination against domestic electricity producers through uneconomic Feed in tariffs (FIT) and a prohibition on interconnected community grids
- the painfully slow progress to encourage us to switch transport to Electric vehicles
- a lack of legislation to facilitate the growth of offshore wind farms
- a failure to update the Guidelines on land-based wind farms, and
- plans to lock Ireland into fossil fuels through the construction of a Liquid Natural Gas terminal on the Shannon.
What we want Irish Business leaders to do.
We urge all Irish business leaders to oppose the suggestions in Businesseurope Energy and Climate Change Working Group’s Memo of 13th September. This Memo advised challenging the new targets proposed by EU Climate and Energy Commissioner Arias Canete. This is very dangerous advice.
Ireland’s future well-being, as well as all mankind, depends on accelerating the necessary actions to control climate change and ensuring that the new EU agenda is adopted as rapidly as possible to ensure our sustainable future.
We urge you to focus instead on the failures in governance which have retarded Ireland’s ability to take advantage of the new sustainable era opportunities now opening up. These are, inter alia,
- offshore and on-land wind energy generation
- re-working our Waste Management infrastructure to eliminate emissions creating elements such as thermal treatment plants in favour of Circular Economy solutions
- developing widespread solar power infrastructures
- enabling sustainable community grids
- providing compelling incentives and infrastructure to switch to Electric vehicles
Fingers crossed that climate change wisdom prevails among the lobbyists and lawmakers alike.