A letter from CONCORD President Joanna Maycock to EU President José Manuel Barroso

Subject: Impact of climate change on developing countries and the need for EU leadership

Dear President Barroso,

The EU has helped to achieve great strides forward in progress on the Millennium Development Goals. Your own personal commitment in the fight against global poverty has prevented severe cuts in development aid in the
Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-20, despite difficult economic times. However, development progress of recent decades stands to be reversed if the climate crisis is not tackled urgently. A hot world is a hungry world: people who spend the majority of their income on food are pushed further into poverty when food price shocks hit as a result of extreme weather. Small-scale farmers and farm workers – the majority of food insecure people in the world – have no means to cope with unpredictable weather and stand to lose their jobs as agricultural businesses become unviable.

The 19th Conference of the UNFCC in Poland opened just as the Philippines was struck by the most severe typhoon ever recorded, yet outcomes from Warsaw are out of step with what is required and we are currently on course for a future world of more than 4oC average warming. The EU needs to re-establish its climate leadership to help reverse the current lack of global ambition ahead of the global climate deal in Paris, 2015. We call on you as President of the European Commission to actively pursue greater European climate action to help protect the poorest and most vulnerable countries.

In the upcoming considerations of the EU’s 2030 Climate and Energy Package we call on you to champion the highest possible domestic ambition by supporting an emission reduction target of at least 55% by 2030, supported by a binding target for sustainable renewable energy (of 40%, with all forms of bioenergy subjected to an EU wide binding social and environmental sustainability framework) and for energy efficiency (45%). The Commission’s forthcoming White Paper and Impact Assessment should include these top ranges for emission reductions. The Impact Assessment should also provide a full economic, social and environmental benefit of the proposed policy choices, including an analysis of the opportunity cost of low ambition, and consider impacts on third countries as in line with Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) obligations. EU energy policy should not undermine its own development objectives by putting pressure on land and food markets through bioenergy production. We urge you to ensure that no transport or other sectoral sub-targets are included in the renewable energy targets for 2030.

If the EU does not deliver its fair share of emissions reductions through the 2030 climate and energy package, it is unlikely that high emitting developing countries, which are being asked to step up action within the 2015 international climate agreement, will deliver theirs.

Finally, we call on you to invest more in the mobilization of alternative sources of public finance, such as financial transaction taxes, to increase public finance for developing countries over and above existing aid levels to help them deal with these multiple and growing challenges. The lack of certainty regarding climate finance was a major issue for developing countries at the Warsaw climate conference, and without supplementary climate finance forthcoming before 2015, the global climate deal which needs to be agreed may be put at risk.

We hope you will consider these points in ongoing deliberations of European climate policy,

Yours Sincerely,

Joanna Maycock
President of CONCORD