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Environm Ciencia, Tecnologia y Economia

European Parliament: increasingly thinking and acting green.

Posted by benjamin-nicolau en mayo 5, 2012

European Parliament: increasingly thinking and acting green

EU policies have taken on a distinct green hue of late as reducing our impact on the environment becomes more and more important. In recent months the European Parliament has discussed making everything from Common Agricultural Policy to aviation emissions greener. But what do politicians mean by green and what is Parliament’s green agenda? We put the question to a number of parliamentary committee chairs.

Green energy

Italian Christian-Democrat Amalia Sartori, who chairs the industry, research and energy committee, said the aim is to decarbonise the economy and that everyone, from industry to public bodies and citizens had a role to play. Following the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima last year, there has been more interest in green or renewable energy sources. Ms Sartori said: “Green energy is the future and industry will have to follow the trend that has become a reality in Europe and in the whole world.” The Parliament is currently working on an energy efficiency directive and will soon start negotiations with the Council and the Commission.

Green transport

British Social-Democrat Brian Simpson, chairman of the transport committee, prefers the term sustainable when it comes to transport. “It is very difficult to have a perfectly green transport system but it is possible to have a sustainable system that takes into account both transport and environmental aspirations and needs,” he said. “The secret is getting a realistic balance between the two sectors that could then deliver the benefits to both people and planet for the betterment of us all, now and in the future.”

Green jobs

According to Spanish Christian-Democrat Zalba Bidegain, vice-chair of the economic and monetary affairs committee, a green economy based on renewable energy would stimulate Europe’s technological development. He added: “Moreover, this green economy will allow us to find new ways to generate jobs, wealth and respect the environment.”

French Social-Democrat Pervenche Bères, chairwoman of the employment committee, also believes the green sector will be able to produce many jobs: “Minimising energy consumption, reducing waste and pollution or even safeguarding biodiversity, a green job may take several forms. Simply put, it benefits the environment. However, a job cannot deserve its green colour if it is not decent and sustainable. A green job must also create upward mobility along a career path and ensure improved living standards while guaranteeing safe working conditions.”

Green politics

And let’s not forget that the Greens are the fourth largest political group in the European Parliament, with 58 members out of a total of 754 MEPs. Rebecca Harms, co-chair of the Parliament’s Green group, said: “The Greens have always fought for a fair society with equal rights, possibilities and responsibilities for everyone. The Greens also expanded the traditional notion of fairness in a society by the idea of justice between generations. This implies respecting nature’s limits as well as a sustainable use of resources, be it material or financial resources.”

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