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THE EUROPEAN TURNING POINT ON SUSTAINABILITY CANNOT PRESCIND FROM YOUNG PEOPLE AND CIVIL SOCIETY
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THE EUROPEAN TURNING POINT ON SUSTAINABILITY CANNOT PRESCIND FROM YOUNG PEOPLE AND CIVIL SOCIETY

Europe will have no future if it does not develop a culture of sustainability capable of accompanying the processes of energy transition and climate neutrality, as well as involving all the components of society in a conscious and proactive role. No country is able to tackle the problem of climate change on its own, but with a common effort, at all levels, we can all manage to change things together. This is a summary of the message contained in the EESC Opinion, the European Economic and Social Committee, addressed to the European Commission on National Energy and Climate Plans. The document, unanimously approved by the last assembly of the European Economic and Social Committee, was presented by the CNEL Councillor and EESC Councillor Tommaso Di Fazio as speaker.

 

“It is not true that we are not doing anything, as Greta Thumberg and the movements inspired by her affirm. The European Union has been working hard for some time, but we must all contribute to treating climate problems with absolute priority and ensure that the attention of public opinion towards them never fails", says Di Fazio recalling that" PNECs are the concrete form summing up the action taken by the EU, first in the world, in response to movements to fight climate change”.


The European Commission has asked the EESC for a specific opinion on the National Energy and Climate Plans, the so-called PNECs. With this opinion, the EESC "welcomes the initiative of the European Commission to start the evaluation of the projects of National Energy and Climate Plans presented by the Member States, thus following up on the new governance model launched by the Council and by the Parliament in December 2018, aimed at ensuring (together with the Member States, regional and local authorities, organized civil society and citizens) a process of convergence and coherence of action at European level for the transition towards clean energy and climate protection, through an interactive multilevel dialogue of full involvement of civil society and public and private actors at local and regional level "and, at the same time, notes that" their successful implementation will depend on the level of participation of all citizens through a process of involvement at the bottom".


Thanks to this initiative, the European Union is becoming a reference on an international level, both in terms of regulations and governance, in the fight against climate change. With the approval of specific "integrated" national energy and climate plans, the EU is the first major world economy to adopt a legally binding framework to deliver on the commitments made in 2015 with the COP 21 Paris Agreement and with the UN Agenda for 2030.


"While the European Union is moving forward decisively in wanting to achieve the goal set and signed by the major countries of the world, we are witnessing the exit of the United States of Trump from the agreements in these days (November 4, 2019). The EU with its 550 million inhabitants makes up about 8% of the world's population and its contribution to the world's wealth production is around 22%. We therefore believe that the European contribution is more methodological, in presenting a concrete model of governance to the world, rather than that of obtaining substantial global results. These, if we are not followed by the other major countries, will be small and perhaps in vain for a real halt to the worsening of the climatic conditions, "says Tommaso Di Fazio.


The new energy system will have to be more inclusive, sustainable, economic, fair and secure. In order to achieve this goal, according to the EESC Committee, the PNECs must adopt an anthropocentric approach to the energy transition, in which decisions on global energy and climate challenges are based on social consensus but also on creating value for businesses and society as a whole. In no case should this jeopardize the energy triangle formed by: security and access; environmental and social sustainability; economic development and competitive growth. In particular, the PNECs, recommends the EESC, must contain specific plans on the methods and times for the conversion of the vast production sectors that will be decommissioned during the transition to climate neutrality, and any measure and provision for accompanying the workers of those sectors towards new activities, without leaving anyone behind. The contribution of the European Economic and Social Committees, such as CNEL, was specifically requested by the European Commission to obtain the necessary social consensus.


To accelerate the dissemination of the culture of sustainability, it is essential, says the EESC, "to raise public awareness on the issue of sustainability, especially starting from the first years of life, so that they are all equally convinced of its importance".



Download the Opinion approved by the EESC Assembly (in Italian)


Download the Communication of the European Commission

Articolo Precedente LA SVOLTA EUROPEA SULLA SOSTENIBILITÀ PASSA PER I GIOVANI E LA SOCIETÀ CIVILE
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