The latest UN summit on climate change, held in Bonn, Germany, produced no grounbreaking results. Euronews asked the EU’s Commission for climate matters, Connie Hedegaard, for comment.
Euronews: Commissioner, is anyone in the world respecting the EU when it comes to environment and climate change matters?
Connie Hedegaard: Definitely yes. You can ask representatives from all sorts of countries and if they have to think of a region that is actually doing things in real life, they think of Europe, because they know that we are not just talking this message, we are also doing it.
Euronews: But Copenhagen brought disappointing results and the same in Bonn; what’s happening?
Hedegaard: That’s right. We did not achieve everything that we wanted in Copenhagen, but who is to get the credit for climate change actually making it to the top of the agenda even in that crisis year 2009? I would say it is, without discussion, the European Union. And I don’t know why sometimes it always is as if it is easy to blame those who are doing the most — “Why don’t they do even more?” But I think that if you ask a lot of developing countries they would say: “Yes we know that actually Europe not only signed up to Kyoto: You pledged and you delivered and you will also be the region that so far has set the most ambitious targets for 2020”.
Euronews: But they didn’t followed the EU on the 20 20 20 goals.
Hedegaard: I simply disagree. If we had had this interview 12 months back, Europe would have been more or less alone in the world, with a few exceptions, in setting targets for 2020. In the run up to Copenhagen last year, Brazil set targets, India did, South Africa, China, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, Japan strengthened their target significantly, and so did Russia and so on and so forth. We definitely did not set our targets in vain.
A lot have followed, not as much as I would like to see yet, but compared to 12 months back we are in a totally different place.
Euronews: Can grassroots efforts improve more than government action?
Hedegaard: I think that we saw in the run up to Copenhagen that when you mobilise people broadly, it puts pressure on things politically, which is important. But I also think that right now we need people just to do things out in the cities, out in the companies, out in the business sector… There is still so much we could do — not only because of international climate negotiations but because it will serve the EU’s own self interests.