PES Environment and Climate Change Network: Sustainability is the bedrock of socialist policies

07/11/2018

PES Environment and Climate Change Network

PES member parties, MEPs, trade unions and civil society agreed today that sustainable development must form the backbone of all EU policies.

The PES Environment and Climate Change Network met to discuss the future of UN and EU climate policy, food waste, food standards, and how to tackle false health claims.

Jo Leinen MEP (SPD, Germany), Chair of the PES Environment and Climate Change Network, said the EU must focus on reducing emissions:

"As the recent ICPP special report made clear, the world community, including the EU, must do more to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We need to be more ambitious on reducing emissions. In the European Parliament we secured a majority calling for a 55% reduction of EU greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The EU must now increase its CO2 reduction target for 2030 too. To achieve this, we need to modernise the European economy to make it greener, focusing on production, innovation and creating quality jobs.”

To enable long-term planning and to fulfil the EU’s Paris Agreement commitments, the Network called on the European Commission to prepare a long-term vision to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. Commenting on the European Commission’s forthcoming Sustainable Europe reflection paper, Mr Leinen added:

“The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must be the guiding principles for a sustainable Europe. The SDGs are in fact Social Democratic Goals - they define progress in social, economic and environmental terms. To implement these goals, the EU needs to adapt and update the way it makes policies. For example, the Europe 2020 Strategy could be replaced by a Sustainable Europe 2030 Strategy, which should go along with a revised European Semester process, scrutinising coherence of policies in the EU with the SDGs’ objectives. Our political family has been fighting to make the SDGs a reality through more ambitious climate policy, the European Pillar of Social Rights, and robust cohesion policy that enables local and regional authorities to implement the SDGs. Socialism and sustainability go hand-in-hand.”

Further discussion at the Network focused on how to create a sustainable and healthy food system, including how to cut food waste during production, transportation, storage, processing and retail. The Network further agreed that citizens should expect the same quality of food across the continent and they should not be misled about the healthiness of the food they buy.