European council urged to agree 'robust' climate and energy framework

Green Growth Summit a call to arms for MEPs to help drive the transition to a low-carbon economy in Europe, says Sandrine Dixson-Declève.

Anticipation is building ahead of the European council later this month, at which the EU's new climate and energy framework will be agreed. The right 2030 climate and energy package could trigger one of the biggest sustainability and economic shifts in the region's history. Securing a long-term viable and affordable low-carbon energy supply, founded on a fully-integrated energy union, would drive productivity and competitiveness, cut energy imports and deliver jobs and growth.

To promote a better understanding of what's at stake and how business and governments need to work together, the Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group, in collaboration with the UK's department for energy and climate change, will convene a Green Growth Summit at the parliament this Wednesday. The summit will bring together ministers, MEPs, business leaders and international experts, and will also see the launch of a 'parliamentary green growth group', with MEP representatives from across the main political groups.

This is the third green growth summit we have held at the parliament and we hope it will help shape the new five-year mandate for both parliament and the commission. By gathering experts and decision makers, we seek to inform the debate and find solutions to challenges the low-carbon transformation may bring. We have already contributed several discussion papers on the creation of a low carbon energy union and the benefits of green growth, which we hope will serve the new parliamentary green growth group and enhance the decision-making process on the implementation of the 2030 package.

"Action on climate change now will be cheaper and less disruptive than if we wait until there's no choice. The science tells us what needs to happen and by when. Business is ready to invest and innovate if given the loud and legal signals it needs."

It stands to reason that if we are going to modernise and spend money we should bring in low-carbon energy assets and infrastructure that boost the economy. European companies with smart business strategies are already reaping benefits and increasing their competitiveness in multiple sectors, from electrical equipment, to specialty chemicals, to the software needed to run more sophisticated, resource-efficient systems.

It's clear that acting on climate change represents a huge opportunity for business. But without the continued support of governments through effective policies and clear targets, they will not maintain their competitive edge. Many believe that the commission's current proposal is the minimum required for this to happen, and some say that the commission should go further and agree more ambitious targets.

What is clear, and what ministers and business will say at the summit, is that the October council must agree a robust deal, supported by a clear transition plan for those economies and industries that are currently dependant on high carbon energy. We need an ambitious package of measures that match the science, the urgency and the scale of the climate change dilemma.

Action on climate change now will be cheaper and less disruptive than if we wait until there's no choice. The science tells us what needs to happen and by when. Business is ready to invest and innovate if given the loud and legal signals it needs. Whatever happens in the next few weeks, the pace will only pick up and we need as many committed policy makers working hand in hand with business to help steer us onto a safe, secure and profitable pathway that benefits as many people as possible.

Read the most recent articles written by Sandrine Dixson-Declève - PM+: EU policymakers must send 'clear signal' on energy policy

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