Protecting the planet is a core Green value. The way we currently consume and produce energy is changing our global climate, and poisoning the planet for future generations. We are committed to change the way we produce energy to an environmentally friendly alternative, and transitioning Europe's energy towards a sustainable, climate-friendly model.
The Fifth Assessment Report of the United Nations shows how serious the need for action is. Sea levels are rising, storms and droughts are becoming more frequent. Arctic ice and glaciers are melting worldwide. If we don't make drastic changes, climate change will affect us all. The world faces a loss of biodiversity, especially in those ecosystems that have a difficult time adapting to climatic shifts. As temperatures rise, deserts will likely spread. Water, already a scarce resource in some parts of the world, will become even more scarce. Extreme weather events like droughts, storms, and heavy rainfall will increase. While it's bad news for all of us, those in the developing world who have contributed least to climate change, are likely to be affected the most.
The Greens have already succeeded in bringing environmental concerns to the forefront of European political debate. Now, we have to translate those concerns into lasting and meaningful change. We want a Europe that gets 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. We want to see binding 2030 targets for carbon emissions agreed to, and for Europe to rely fully on renewable energies by 2050. We want to see the European Emissions Trading Scheme made fit for purpose, so that it makes carbon emissions financially punative. We want Europe to be a global leader in international climate diplomacy, advocating for a robust global emissions regime in Paris in 2015.
Nuclear power is not the solution. It is risky and unpredictable. Fukushima and Chernobyl are global catastrophes that must never again be allowed happen. Nuclear energy leaves a legacy of toxic waste for thousands of years.
Fracking for shale gas isn't the answer either. Fracking destroys local water resources, and can increase chances of earthquakes. It's a harmful way to extract fossil fuels. We'll continue to fight against it, and try to ban it across the EU.
Green representatives like Satu Hassi, Bas Eickhout and Yannick Jadot are working to make a climate-friendly Europe a reality.
How can we effectively raise awareness on the issue of climate change? Which local and regional alternatives to our current energy production methods can be used? What can European countries learn from each other to advance their usage of renewable energy?
Outline of the conference on Shale Gas, organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Istanbul, Turkey, taking place on 9 November, 2014.