PARIS – On 16 May, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he is “counting on help from the regions” as Paris undertakes the responsibility to solve the world's global warming troubles. The French capital has offered to host the “Conference of the Parties” COP 21 meeting in 2015, under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) is about to issue a report which, according to Fabius, “will show that there is worsening of the climate, not a stabilisation”.
Addressing the AER General Assembly and its president, Michèle Sabban, at the Ile de France Regional Council in Paris on 16 May, the French Foreign Minister said that in order to get an agreement on climate change at COP 21, “we are going to have to work from the ground up, from the local, regional, grassroots level where there have been some successful experiences”.
“It is important for all the regions to make recommendations and propositions” that can be taken into consideration in COP 21, Sabban told New Europe on the sidelines of the AER General Assembly on 16 May. For this reason, she said she asked for Fabius’ support two months ago to hold a world regions summit in Languedoc–Roussillon in the fall of 2014.
Sabban said the regions have the power and capacity to impose more sustainable ways to relating to the environment.
“We are undergoing an economic and social crisis, but it’s also a climate and ecological crisis. We need to think locally and act globally,” she told Fabius and the General Assembly. “We will address climate change and the transition to a greener economy.”
Meanwhile, European Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski told New Europe on 16 May that, as the economic crisis persists, the development of green energy in Europe has to be assisted, but it should pass the test of creating jobs. “Now more than ever we need to balance the absolutely justified requests for green energy,” Lewandowski said, adding that Europe has the technological advantage in the global competition. “But, on the other hand, it should be matched with the problems of competitiveness of the European industry.”
Energy Saving SAS CEO Myriam Maestroni suggested “a bottom up” approach in energy efficiency that could lead to lower CO2 emissions. “I believe in the power of cities and if well informed to spend money in renovating their house,” she told New Europe in Paris. “That will produce a market. Whenever you have a market, you have an economy, you have an offer getting in line, and you have skills and talents,” she said.
Meanwhile, Melville Kendal, deputy leader of Hampshire County Council, authored an AER political report on the future of electric vehicles adopted by the General Assembly on 17 May. Hampshire County Council leader Ken Thornber told New Europe, “We are not only face a financial crisis in Europe but there are also environmental concerns that we have”. “As a British member, we believe in the market and therefore not looking particularly for large subsidies”. He added, however, that encouraging new developments like electric vehicles sometimes require jump starts. “But certainly I don’t want to see something that is permanently subsidised by the taxpayer,” he said.