EU governments breach citizens’ right to information on international aviation climate policy
As I write this at the UN Climate Change Conference, Bonn, along with the rest of Western Europe, is sweltering in the scorching heat, an uncomfortable foretaste of what an ever-warming climate has in store for us. I can only hope that the UN climate negotiators also feel the heat and the urgency to act as they work on the Paris Agreement’s market provisions. It is crucial to agree on strong rules that ensure that all climate projects reduce emissions, involve local stakeholders into the decision-making, give affected communities access to a grievance mechanism, and place sustainable development at the heart of the projects. The Barro Barro hydro dam project in Panama is an example of a climate project that has failed on all these accounts – we cannot afford such mistakes in the future.
At the same time, signatories to the Aarhus Convention, a treaty giving citizens the right of access to information and justice in environmental issues, convene in Geneva. One of the issues to be discussed is how to promote the Aarhus principles in international forums, such as ICAO, the notoriously opaque UN aviation agency. Seven EU governments that sit in ICAO’s decision-making body are withholding information from their citizens while developing the aviation carbon market, in breach of their obligations under the Aarhus Convention.
Advocates for strong European climate action were in for a huge disappointment as EU leaders failed to commit to carbon neutrality by 2050 due to resistance from Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Estonia. These countries claim to be protecting their citizens and businesses against undue financial burden. We argue that Europe’s businesses (and citizens) are best protected when there are clear, political commitments to climate action that will translate into investment certainty. Finally, the European Commission urges EU governments to include concrete measures into their national energy and climate plans, largely confirming our recent analysis. Effective measures to cut emissions in the transport, buildings and agricultural sectors will bring tangible co-benefits such as clean air and better health.
on behalf of the Carbon Market Watch team,
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