This week, the United Nations organised its 2019 Climate Summit in New York, gathering leaders from government, business and civil society to discuss and deliver pathways and practical actions to shift global response in the face of worsening climate crisis – highlighted in the most Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report “The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, which further emphasise the risks and dangers of climate change for the planet.
Beyond the pressing necessity to act quickly and to address climate change, the conclusions of the UN “Climate Action Summit 2019” and the from the “TTE Council” (Transport, Telecommunications and Energy, held on 24 September) both converge: many non-state actors play an increasingly central part in fighting climate change and taking on board this struggle wherever and whenever governments do not. States and countries might therefore no longer be the central actors in tackling climate change.
This by no means implies that state authorities could or should find themselves at the margins of this “cross-border struggle par excellence”. In that sense, CEEP welcomes the progressing implementation of the Energy Union, e.g. through debates in the Council concerning the National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs). But their action now complements that of the society at large.
As such, public services and services of general interest belong to the key stakeholders in tackling climate change. This has been CEEP’s conviction since long, as our members in key sectors such as energy, public transport, social housing or waste management have a concrete and direct influence on the fight against climate change. Those messages were clearly stated in our opinion “A Sustainable Climate Strategy for Europe: Acting Now! – Statement on Climate “For Sibiu and Beyond”, adopted by our General Assembly in June. Our key messages are the following ones:
- Global warming is a major risk and climate policies must be developed as part of a sustainable approach.
- A prerequisite for success is the social acceptability of these policies, which requires greater equity and democracy, particularly at the local level.
- CEEP members manage essential infrastructure and provide SGIs that contribute to well-being and competitiveness; their proximity to economic actors makes them key players in climate policies.
- The EU Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 needs to recognise that role and put “enablers” of sustainable climate policies at its centre.
CEEP will now engage with the Commissioners-designate for the future von der Leyen’s European Commission who will address climate change, such as Frans Timmermans (Executive Vice-President in charge of the EU Green Deal), Valdis Dombrovskis (Executive Vice-President in charge of an Economy that Works for the People, and who will develop a “green financing strategy”), Kadri Simson (Commissioner for Energy), as well as Rovana Plumb (proposed Commissioner for Transport), and continue to highlight the key role of our members in that process, both addressing its adaptation and mitigation aspects.