You can download the full text of the Common Manifesto 2014 in .pdf HERE
GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS
Climate change and biodiversity loss pose threats to societies across the world. The ecological crisis has been overshadowed by the current economic crisis but the situation is becoming more and more acute, with the potential collapse of ecosystems putting our way of life at risk. In 2013 we consumed more of the Earth's resources by August than can be renewed in a year.
There is no longer any doubt about mankind's role in causing climate change and about the catastrophic consequences of inaction. The planet is close to tipping point and, without a radical change in energy consumption and production patterns, damaging climate change can become irreversible. However, there are solutions that will deliver massive environmental, economic, social and health benefits.
EUROPEAN CLIMATE AND ENERGY LAW
We want comprehensive EU climate and energy legislation consistent with our fair share of global efforts, built on legally binding emission targets and sanctions to ensure that climate goals will be met. This will create incentives towards sustainable economic transformation and averting dangerous climate change. The UN climate summit in Paris in 2015 (COP 21) must deliver a binding global agreement.The clock is ticking and the EU, together with member states, need to play a leading role in negotiations to secure binding commitments from all negotiating parties. This also means increasing its existing and outdated greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2020 from 20% to 30% from their 1990 levels, and setting a target to further reduce these emissions by at least 55% from their 1990 levels by 2030 in order to reach a carbon-neutral society by 2050.
Legally binding restrictions remain the most effective measure for decreasing pollution and polluting practices. The EU's Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) must be radically reformed in order to become an effective tool. Unless that can be achieved, Greens will advocate national carbon floor pricing.Public institutions, businesses, and especially the financial sector, must be encouraged to divest from climate-damaging assets. Public subsidies for and investments in fossil fuels should be ended. We want to invest in European energy networks connecting renewable energy production in different parts of the continent, increasing energy security and cutting costs.
A coherent energy policy, based on energy savings, energy efficiency and renewable energy is the only way to achieve a nearly full renewables-based economy by 2050. Therefore, further national binding targets on energy efficiency and renewable energy are essential. Energy consumption must be reduced by 40% over the next 15 years and, at the same time, renewable energy, excluding agrofuels, must be boosted to ensure 45% of our energy consumption by 2030. This is not only essential for limiting global warming to below 2º°C above pre-industrial levels, it also makes economic sense, stimulating economic activity, creating jobs and reducing Europe’s dependence on costly imports of fuels.
Nuclear power is expensive and risky, increases the danger of spreading of nuclear weapons and has no part to play in Europe's energy mix. We will continue to say 'Nuclear? No thanks!' and renew our engagement to phase-out nuclear energy in Europe while making sure this does not increase carbon emissions. We must shut down the most risky power plants immediately, end direct and indirect subsidies and insist that existing operators bear full liability for the damage and fall-out from nuclear accidents.
SUSTAINABILITY IS THE KEY
Sustainability must be put at the heart of every major economic decision. We want to see environmental and biodiversity protection and sustainable development given international priority. We propose the creation of a World Environment Organisation by combining and expanding the role of the different disjointed agencies that already exist within the United Nations. We cannot measure the quality of life only in coarse monetary terms: we need new indicators to complement and extend the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of sustainable prosperity and well-being.
The diverse natural environment in Europe is beautiful and has a value beyond money. The Greens know that sustainable development means managing natural resources wisely so that our children and our children's children will still have a viable planet to live on. We are living way beyond our means by consuming natural resources at a rate at which they cannot be renewed, and by polluting the air, soil and water with hazardous substances. We want to reduce our ecological footprint and resource consumption and ensure that goods are fit for re-use, repair and recycling in place of the designed-for-the-dump approach. The ultimate goal should be a closed-loop society, where non-hazardous waste from one sector becomes an input for another.
PRIORITY FOR GREEN TRANSPORT
Aviation and road transport are major sources of greenhouse gases, air pollution and noise. The current volume of fossil fuels used for the transport sector not only has a strongly negative impact on public health and the environment but also makes the EU dependent on energy imports and exposed to rising prices. We need to shift to safer and less environmentally-damaging modes like sustainable waterways, cycling, public-collective transport and rail. Special emphasis needs to be put on fair competition between different modes of transport. A European railway network should therefore close missing links on both regional and long-distance connections, in a way that urban and regional agglomerations can easily be reached. Existing cross-border rail connections must be prioritised over roads and aviation, especially for the movement of goods. Improving the energy efficiency of cars helps cut the fuel bills of European citizens and improves air quality. We also want to spur innovation by making electric bicycles, tramways and trains, electric cars, all bases on renewable sources, more attractive options.
PROTECT HEALTH AND SAFETY
Together with Civil Society Organizations, Greens have successfully driven the environmental and public health agendas in the European Parliament, shaping for instance safety rules for chemicals, pesticides and biocides. We support measures to reduce air pollution which is a major cause of premature death. We are pushing hard for better controls of electronic and hazardous waste, drug and pesticide residues discharged into our water systems and the use of nanotechnology in cosmetics, medicines, food and biocides, as well as for reduced exposure to substances that negatively affect our hormonal system.
We will continue our campaign against the dangerous and damaging practice of shale gas extraction, and the extraction of other unconventional fossil fuels. It is time to ban shale gas and therefore we call for an immediate ban on hydraulic fracturing ('fracking'). Fracking contaminates our water supplies and our environment with chemicals used in fracking fluids. Methane leakages during extraction of shale gas add to climate change. Moreover, the economic benefits have been grossly exaggerated, with production rates dropping rapidly after the first year of fracking, causing boom-and-bust economies in local communities. We will work to establish fracking-free regions throughout Europe, following the successful GMO-free model.
FOOD NOT FUEL
Fuel made from food crops is not a sustainable solution to the climate, energy and poverty crises. Feeding crops into cars, combined with financial speculation on essential food commodities, has forced up food prices, results in land grabbing and threatens the food security of millions in the developing world whilst having a negative climate impact. In particular, biodiversity-rich tropical rainforests are being slashed and burnt to make way for palm oil plantations intended for fuel and food ingredients.
The EU should not be further exacerbating these trends by promoting the use of agriculturalland for fuel. We have to abandon the use of food crops for fuel altogether. Instead we need to focus on more sustainable transport models, including better efficiency for cars and fuels from waste products.
BETTER FOOD, BETTER LIVES
Our food chain is malfunctioning. Industrial agriculture, based on pesticides, monocultures and an overuse of antibiotics, is thriving at the expense of our health, the environment and increased animal suffering. Recurring food scandals have made consumers justifiably insecure about what we are eating and where it comes from.
The Greens want to promote sustainable, healthy, tasty, diverseand ethical food, not standardised, tasteless food designed simply to look good on supermarket shelves. This means encouraging local production chains, organic farming and fair trade products from developing countries. We have succeeded in fighting several misleading practices, and in improving country of origin and nano-ingredients labelling. We will continue to demand improved transparency in food labelling. With Europe throwing away 90 million tons of food annually, we also want action to cut down on food waste. We have launched a food revolution, increasing public awareness, personal engagement and participative democracy in determining and improving food policies throughout Europe.
The European Parliament now has equal responsibility for the EU's Common Agricultural Policy. It is time to make our farming climate-smart, sustainable, fair and ethically sound. We want resilient, biologically diverse, healthy and robust agro-ecosystems that not only adapt to climate change but mitigate it.
We want to see a system which allows for a much fairer distribution of public funds, including more support for small farmers, for organic farming, for conventional farmers who want to green their production methods and for local production and sale, which brings farmers closer to consumers. Farmers deserve a decent price for their products and corporate buyers should not be allowed to drive down farm-gate prices below sustainable levels.
We need to increase soil fertility, drastically cut the inputs of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, eliminate harmful export subsidies and move away from intensive industrial farming.We will continue our campaign for fair and unrestricted access to plant breeding material and against the patenting of plants and animals. We oppose the further privatisation of seeds and plant material in EU rules on seeds and we will keep fighting against the corporate control of the seed industry which makes farmers reliant on seed designed specifically for use with chemical fertilisers and pesticides, instead of allowing them to save and breed their own seed and adapt their crops to changing local conditions.
Biodiversity loss and excessive pesticide use has meant habitat destruction and led to a massive decline in bee and other insect populations, which disturbs natural pollination of many plants and crops. If we want healthy local fruit and vegetables, we must 'give bees a chance'.
NO TO GMOs
We have been consistent in our opposition to genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in food and farming and in our support for a GMO-free Europe. Greens will continue to lead the fight for GMO-free food and against cultivating GMOs here, together with a ban on importing GMOs for animal feedstuffs. We must insist on the right to make our own rules and impose mandatory GMO labelling. European consumers have the right to know what their food is composed of and where it comes from. Any research on GMOs should be limited to impact assessments including gene flow and cross-contamination.
MORE FISH IN THE SEAS
The Greens have played a lead role in pushing for a more sustainable Common Fisheries Policy. The policy of throwing unwanted fish back into the sea was a massive waste of food and income and will now be curtailed. Fish stocks will be better managed and the capacity of the fishing fleet better regulated. Consumers will now be able to see not only where their fish came from but how it was caught. Much remains to be done to implement these reforms and to ensure that loopholes are not exploited. We will continue to fight for better controls over intensive fish farming, which is highly polluting and for fairer treatment for small-scale, local fishing inside and outside Europe.
We are well known for our commitment to animal protection and Greens in the European Parliament are at the forefront of legal and political moves to provide ever increasing standards of well-being for all sentient beings. We urgently need to move away from factory farming, with its horrendous record on animal welfare and its intensive use of antibiotics.
We have led the fight against excessive animal testing and will continue to do so. We want to significantly reduce animal transport times and to end live animal exports. At the international level, the EU must be more energetic in combating wildlife trafficking, protecting marine mammals and defending its ban on seal products. We support a ban on fur farming.