The following letter was sent to The Guardian this week about MEPs’ vote on the ‘backloading’ of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme:
Your warning of an impending financial crisis if fossil fuels remain unburned as a result of carbon emission reduction targets being met reveals clearly how environmental and economic goals can be at odds with each other (Carbon bubble ‘creates global economic risk’, Guardian 19th April, p1).
But of course they don’t have to be: if the energy companies switched from exploring for and extracting new oil and gas reserves to researching and delivering renewable and other low-carbon energy technologies not presenting such long-term risks, the supply of fossil fuels would fall and the price would,in fact, rise.
That would mean we enjoyed the best of both worlds: a strong economy and action to meet our international commitments on climate change.
Failure to do will have the opposite effect: a stalling economy and more climate chaos the effects of which are already being felt around the world, with the greatest impact falling on the poorest.
It’s clear that we just can’t carry on with business as usual, and equally that we need strong political measures coherent with our commitments on tackling climate change.
Just a few days ago, a small majority of MEPs voted against taking urgent measures to fix problems in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme – the price of carbon emission permits has duly plunged (and with it the costs associated with burning fossil fuels for energy generation): as well as the EU needing to take bold action to reduce emissions, we need the energy industry to act in its own self-interest.
Jean Lambert MEP (Green Party, London)
This letter was a response to this article.