Environment Council: Climate change must remain a priority in spite of the financial turmoil
In the wake of the European Council, the ETUC reiterates that the fight against climate change must remain a priority. But the financial crisis strengthens the need for a major European investment plan to improve energy efficiency, support the creation of green jobs and reduce the energy bill for the poorest. The ETUC also calls for European instruments to anticipate and provide support measures to ease the inevitable consequences on workers of the transition to a low carbon economy.
"The financial crisis must not weaken the objectives of the energy and climate change package or postpone its adoption, scheduled for the end of 2008. On the contrary, the crisis reinforces the need for massive investments in energy savings and renewable energy to make our economies less dependent on imports of oil and gas", declared ETUC Confederal Secretary Joël Decaillon.
The ETUC nevertheless notes with concern that the energy and climate change package has yet to convince European unions that it will indeed create the jobs it promises and guarantee a socially responsible transition for workers from the sectors affected.
Accordingly, in the framework of a relaunch of the economy aimed at securing sustainable growth, the ETUC calls for:
the presentation by the Commission of a White Paper on climate change, skills and jobs in 2009, containing practical proposals to promote coordinated action by the Member States in support of training in new skills in sectors such as energy efficiency and renewable energy;
the creation of a fund for adaptation to a low carbon economy in order to provide support measures for the transitions to be made by workers affected by climate change measures.
The ETUC also has concerns about the risk of relocation of energy-intensive industries in the context of revision of the directive on the CO2 market. The ETUC calls on the European Environment Ministers to modify the draft directive so as:
to identify at an early date, i.e. by June 2009, the sectors subject to a known risk of carbon leakage, and to propose appropriate measures for these sectors in 2010, and not in 2011 as proposed by the Commission;
to introduce border compensation measures for imports and exports until such time as a global agreement guaranteeing fair conditions of competition is in place.
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