Leading MEP calls for EU climate security envoy
26 November 2012, The Parliament Magazine
Senior British MEP Graham Watson has called for the creation of an EU special representative on climate security.
His demand comes after parliament last week debated what role the EU’s security and defence policy should play in climate-driven natural disasters.
Watson, who is chairman of a global parliamentary network called the Climate Parliament, warned of the “security implications” of climate change.
The former ALDE group leader said, “We have to face the facts. Just this week the World Bank published a report showing that, without more radical action, we are likely to warm our planet by an average of three degrees celcius, and possibly even four degrees celcius.
“That means more tropical storms, sea level rise and drought. We cannot afford this – my own constituency of south west England has recently seen torrential rain and over 50 flood warnings across Bristol, Somerset and Devon.”
“These climate impacts – whether they come with a bang or are a gradual drip-drip process – will have security implications. It could be water wars, drought-fuelled famines or flood refugees. We would be fools to not start thinking about the military implications now.”
Watson, a British Liberal MEP, said the commission should ensure that climate security is “mainstreamed” in all areas of EU common security and defence policy reports, spending and strategy.
He added, “I would also add that we need an EU special representative on climate security. I fear that without one very little would happen.”
His call for such as post was backed last week by parliament’s foreign affairs committee.
Meanwhile, following the collapse on Friday of negotiations on the EU budget, environment groups CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe have called on countries to focus their efforts on agreeing a deal in the new year that has “quality” EU spending at the top of the agenda.
Markus Trilling, EU Funds coordinator for CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe, said, “Europe’s people and our environment have been let down by our leaders once again, and for what?
“While opposing member states have been fixating over sums as tiny as 0.005 per cent of total EU GDP, the pressing issues of climate change, environmental degradation and resource use have been totally short-changed.
“If a further budget summit goes ahead in the new year, it must put the quality of EU spending at the top of the agenda, and recognise the huge potential of this money for improving the quality of life in Europe, our shared environment and our economic prospects.”
He said a 25 per cent ‘green’ EU budget for 2014-2020 would “unlock substantial” investment money for projects like energy savings and renewables that would cut greenhouse gas emissions, create millions of new green jobs and reduce fuel poverty.
“Linking direct payments for farmers to strict environmental conditions and dedicating funds to protect nature will be crucial for delivering overall ‘green’ objectives.
“Europe’s leaders simply cannot afford to let a positive, quality-driven deal go begging again,” he added.
Institution: EU Funds
Theme: Energy & climate