Forum urges EU to invest in environmental awareness
The European Consultative Forum on the Environment and Sustainable Development has called for a large-scale public awareness and education campaign at a European level to encourage changes in attitudes and behaviour. The Forum, which comprises representatives from industry, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), trade unions, academics and other interest groups, believes this will be crucial for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions as end consumption currently contributes to about one-third of present emissions and transport for another third. The recommendation forms part of a report for input to the preparation of the European Union Climate Policy Strategy, due to be discussed by the Heads of State and Government at the European Summit in Cologne in June 1999. The group has summarized its conclusions as follows: - Systematic and effective stakeholder involvement in EU climate policy-making is imperative for the development and implementation of an effective European climate policy; - The organization at an EU level of a large-scale public awareness and education campaign is needed if some sense of the urgency for action is to be felt by a large majority of European citizens; -Fundamental differences between Northern Member States and Southern Member States should be acknowledged and addressed in order to create general momentum throughout the EU; - Transport policy is a major pillar of an effective European implementation plan to achieve the Kyoto commitments and of a switch to a more climate friendly development path in the long run; - Technological innovation, diffusion and transfer will play a key part in world-wide climate policy. But technology should be adapted to the context in which it will be operated. Systems of technology watch specifically relating to climate change should be reinforced in the EU; - Diversification of the tray of primary energy sources in the EU has to be maintained and promoted, with particular attention to the renewable sources of energy (solar, wind, biomass); - The EU should strive to improve cooperation with developing countries on climate change. Participation of those countries is only possible if the major industrial players demonstrate their goodwill and effective actions to reduce emissions; - The EU should develop enabling conditions, capacity and incentives for the transfer of climate-friendly technologies to developing countries. This can be achieved partly through careful design of the Clean Development Mechanism.