Wednesday, 20 January 2021

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The Elders: EU Summit a question of "life or death for millions"


20 March 2014. Nobel Peace Prize Winner Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland say that the EU Summit today in Brussels will be crucial for a UN climate treaty in 2015.

 The European Union should “seize the opportunity to act now and create momentum towards a robust, universal, fair and legally binding agreement in Paris in next year," write Archbishop Tutu and Robinson, who are members of the Elders, a group of independent former World leaders working for peace, justice and human rights worldwide. 

RobinsonIn an Op-ed published in several European newspapers, including the Guardian (UK), Libération (France) and Die Zeit (Germany), they write that the European Summit in Brussels “could have life-or-death repercussions for millions of people now and billions more in the future. Climate change is a slow, grinding crisis but urgent action is needed to defuse it.”

The 20-21 March meeting of European Heads of States is one of the first in a delicate sequence of international events and summits on Climate Change over the next two years, concluding with a major conference in Paris, in December 2015.

“This week, Europe cannot falter. The targets decided now will set the terms for further negotiations,” the two Elders write.
“If the EU agrees a package this week, it will have a chance to lead discussions at a major summit convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York this September. And if Europe does not lead, who will?”

Tutu and Robinson believe that the European commission's current proposal of a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 on 1990 levels is not enough to guarantee Europe's status as a leader in climate negotiations – or to meet its own objective of reducing its carbon emissions by 95% in 2050.

“With clear, strong policy signals and targets, European businesses can boost their competitiveness. The United States and China are also making progress in adapting their economies to meet climate targets, and Europe is losing ground.”
The Elders encourage and support leaders in the EU to act in the interests of their own citizens and also all citizens of the world.

“Current and future generations, our grandchildren and great grandchildren, need the world to act decisively now to avoid dangerous climate change. The EU is well-placed to create the positive momentum needed to enable others to act. Tackling climate change is in Europe's economic interest. It is also a chance to display leadership at its finest,” Tutu and Robinson conclude in their Op-ed.

Photos: The Elders.

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