European Parliament forms committee on climate change, throwing its political weight into the ring

Publish date: May 23, 2007

Written by: Niklas Kalvø Tessem

STRASBOURG/BRUSSELS – In an important step toward raising the European Unions (EU’s) environmental profile, the European Parliament formed a temporary committee on climate change consisting of 60 parliamentarians on May 22nd whose work will be geared toward bringing the climate change debate into focus.

The European Commission (EC) has of late been progressive in the fight against global warming. By proposing legislation on issues such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology and organizing high profile events to raise awareness about global warming, the EC is apparently taking a leading environmental role in the EU system.

A progressive new approach

The EP has been criticised for being too passive – it is, for instance, widely known that moving the Parliament itself from Strasbourg to Brussels will be a very polluting endeavour. The recent adoption of a temporarily committee on climate change is geared to prove to critics that the EP also takes the environmental debate seriously.

The main goal of the new committee is to put the EP in a position to place global warming concerns high on the international agenda.

A statement released by the EP on April 19th laid forth a broad environmental agenda that will be kick-started by the new temporary committee on climate change.

The EP committee’s environmental laundry list

The new committee will, for instance, be tasked with making proposals to the EU’s future integrated climate change policy and coordinating the EP’s position relative to negotiations in the post 2012 international climate policy framework, the statement said.

The committee will also be analysing new evidence on climate change and proposing appropriate policy responses at all level of European government, as well as comparing the financial impact of effecting changes or leaving certain issues alone.

Also before the committee is the task of compiling a complete inventory of new and potential developments in the climate change battle plan in order that the EP have the latest and most detailed analysis of these innovations, enabling it to put its political clout to work to realise them.

Part of this work will be to examine the environmental, economic, social, health, geopolitical and regional implications of any new innovations introduced.

Legal housecleaning

The committee will also be ferreting through current European Community environmental law. This will involve meetings and hearings among EU Member State, third party countries the international scientific community, business, and civil society organisations and regional authorities to fine tune legislation and bring it in accord with the fight against global climate change.

The new temporary committee will have its first public meeting in June, where it will discuss how to put these measures and efforts into effect. Bellona Web will be following events as they develop.