American and European stakeholders gather to discuss transatlantic climate change
On 24 and 25 April 2008, representatives of civil society organisations from the EU and US gathered in Washington DC to exchange views and experience on the development, implementation and advancement of policies to mitigate climate change on both sides of the Atlantic.
The conference was organised jointly by NRDC and IEEP as part of the Transatlantic Platform for Action on the Global Environment (T-PAGE), a project co-funded by the European Commission within the framework of a programme to promote transatlantic dialogues at the non-governmental level. It was held at a time when climate change issues feature high on the political agenda on both sides of the Atlantic, as the US Congress is debating several legislative proposals to introduce a federal cap and trade scheme for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while the European Parliament and EU Council are considering a package of climate and energy legislation proposed in January by the European Commission. Political attention is also focused on the multilateral negotiations on a post-2012 global climate change regime which were launched by the Bali Action Plan of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The T-PAGE conference discussed domestic policies in the US and EU as a necessary contribution to those global efforts within the framework of the United Nations.
Participants at the conference represented a variety of environmental NGOs, environmental advisory councils, academic and other research institutions, think tanks and trade unions from some 10 EU Member States and the US. Some representatives of public authorities at the Federal and State level in the US and at the local, national and EU level in Europe also attended the conference and contributed to the debate as keynote speakers and experts.
Following two days of debate and discussion, participants concluded that there is an urgent need to reduce transport emissions such as those from automobiles, trucks, shipping, and aircraft, which are not covered by existing cap-and-trade systems; and called for complementary policies that address both the supply and demand sides of transport. On the issue of biofuels, the Washington meeting concluded that there ought to be a moratorium on the expansion of biofuels production in Europe and North America until the broader transport strategies have been established, and until there is greater certainty regarding the optimum use of biomass that can be developed for climate change mitigation purposes without damaging essential food production and conservation goals.
For background documents on climate change and energy policies in the US and EU see the T-PAGE website.