Comparison: sustainability

Young people in Europe demand more climate action. What do you want to do to meet their demands?

EPP (European People’s Party): To safeguard our planet’s future, we believe that we must perform a well-managed transformation in Europe and globally. This will entail continuing to be committed to the global accords of Paris and Katowice to limit global warming but we must also recognise the need to build on these accords because alone they are not enough. We must invest in developing new, sustainable and low-carbon solutions in a socially responsible way. We are convinced that Europe can be the one who invents and develops the sustainable and low-carbon technologies which will make the whole world transform to low-carbon mobility and production in a socially sustainable fashion.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): We in the S&D believe that Europe must lead the way to climate neutrality by investing into sustainable and innovative technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning action in key areas such as energy, industrial policy and research, while preventing energy poverty, ensuring social fairness for a just transition including re-skilling and up-skilling programmes, which is key to the success of the transition to a net-zero GHG economy by 2050 at the latest. If we are to achieve our long-term GHG net-zero objective, GHG emissions have to be reduced close to zero in all sectors of the economy. We will call on the Commission to develop pathways to climate neutrality for all sectors, while continuing to push to increase the ambition of the existing EU climate legislation. At the same time we believe that Europe’s climate transition must be ecologically, economically and socially sustainable. In order to ensure political acceptance by all citizens, it is important to take into account the distributional effects of climate-related and decarbonisation policies, specifically on people with low income; therefore possible social impacts should be fully taken into consideration in all EU and national climate policies with a view to ensuring a social and ecological transformation in Europe. Finally we strongly believe that young people have increasingly strong social and environmental awareness, which has the power to transform our societies towards a climate resilient future, and that youth education represents one of the most effective tools to combat climate change. We need to actively involve younger generations in building international, intercultural and intergenerational relationships, which underpin cultural change that will support the global efforts for a more sustainable future.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): LYMEC wants to ensure a smooth transition to EU’s carbon neutral economy by 2050, as envisaged by the European Commission in its strategic plan “A Clean planet for all”. We insist on a firm commitment and immediate practical steps to reducing EU’s greenhouse emissions by 55% by 2030, compared to the 1990 levels, and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. We strive for more ambition in the field of energy efficiency. While we welcome the recent revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive, as part of the Clean Energy package, we insist on a 40 % binding EU energy efficiency target for 2030, annual savings requirement at least 2% to reach the 40% target, and less exemptions provided, in order to achieve EU’s climate goals. We are working towards strengthening the European Emission Trading System (ETS) as an investment driver by expanding it to all carbon-emitting sectors, increasing the pace of annual reductions in allowances to 2.2% as of 2021 and reinforcing the Market Stability Reserve. We need to provide support for the industry and the energy sector to meet the innovation and investment challenges of the low-carbon transition through low-carbon funding mechanisms. In addition we want to strengthen the Clean Development Mechanism and prospectively, reach a global emission trading system and a halt in high-carbon investment.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): We support the youth climate strike. We proposed a European Parliament resolution that recognises their efforts and demands. In April 2019, our MEPs launched the Climate Emergency Manifesto in response to the youth climate strike and the latest IPCC report. In it, we detail our vision and policies to avert climate catastrophe. We were the only European Parliament political group to answer the protesters with a concrete proposal.

European Greens: The Greens have climate action as a main priority. There is an answer to the climate crisis: it starts with solar, wind and other renewables! We must go for 100% renewables, use our energy efficiently, phase out fossil energy and nuclear power while creating sustainable jobs in affected regions. To cut emissions fast enough to reach the 1.5°C-world we will push hard for a just transition towards a net-zero-emissions economy. An EU carbon budget and a strong carbon floor price are needed to strengthen our efforts. We advocate phasing out coal by 2030 and other fossil fuels soon thereafter. Fossil and nuclear subsidies must stop now. Europe needs to divest from fossil fuels, to pull private and public funds from fossil investments.

YDE (Young Democrats for Europe, youth wing of EDP): We advocate for climate action and fostering of circular economy. The most important legacy for the next generations will be conditioned to our actions today regarding climate. In this sense, we consider that fostering the electrification of transport, reciclying, the use of renewable energies and introducing the principles of circular economy within the industry must be the action lines of our environmental strategy.

How do you want to make travelling in Europe more sustainable?

EPP (European People’s Party): We believe that we must invest in innovations and technology. We will work towards low-carbon mobility and build a true Energy Union to support the growth of renewable energy sources. We are convinced that we can revolutionise mobility and its environmental impact by developing the necessary engine and fuel technology to minimise the impact. This would also be important for the rest of the world because by creating these technologies, we would not only provide sustainable low-carbon mobility in Europe, but also for the rest of the world.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): Through decarbonisation of all transport modes and increased use of low-emission technologies: Overall, S&D has been asking for a more ambitious approach for renewables in transport and for specific incentives to be put in place for the deployment of sustainable alternative fuels for those transport modes that currently have no alternative to liquid fuel. As regards aviation, the EU should actively push the ICAO in order to secure ambitious international C02 standards and ensure that the aviation sector adequately, fairly and effectively contribute to the achievement of the 2030 climate targets and the Paris Agreement objectives. As regards maritime, IMO should adopt clear GHG emission reductions targets and measures, in their absence, the emissions from the shipping sector should fall under the EU ETS from 2023– renewable technologies should be promoted strongly in the maritime sector. In the road sector specifically, S&D has been calling for ambitious C02 reduction targets for cars, vans and heavy duty vehicles (which adequately reflect Paris Agreement), as well as consistent economic and industrial development strategies to boost production and use of low-emission vehicles and the deployment of resources for achieving them (development of renewable energy and / or sustainable alternative fuels infrastructure and usage-related components such as batteries). The Group has been pushing for an ambitious action plan for the market uptake of electric vehicles and for fiscal incentives for zero and low emission vehicles. In this context, second-use applications for vehicle batteries (smart grid or storage) and circular economy development have also been promoted. Through a shift from the road to more sustainable modes of transport such as rail: S&D has been calling for prioritising investments in rail infrastructure, in particular regarding missing links and cross-border connection and has been asking the Commission to increase interoperability of the various transport modes. Through making urban mobility more sustainable and developing new mobility services: Transport is the main cause of air pollution in urban area; the Group has been pushing for the development of innovative, sustainable, environmentally friendly urban logistics strategies as well as ambitious targets in the context of the public procurement for clean vehicles. New mobility services aim to significantly improve urban transport and have the potential to do so by reducing congestion and emissions and providing an alternative to private car ownership, as the private car is still the principal means of transport in terms of journeys made. Through applying the user and polluter pays principle in all modes of transport and increasing information to consumers: This could also be done through efficient eTolling and eTicketing based on environmental performance of vehicles as well as harmonised guidelines for urban vehicles access regulations (UVARs). Behaviour change and switching towards more sustainable modes of transport is crucial in this context the S&D is calling for more information to consumers on passenger vehicles to accelerate decarbonisation in transport, and calls, therefore, for improved, reliable and more accessible information on emissions and fuel consumption of vehicles, including standardised, visible and clear vehicle labelling, in order to allow consumers to make informed choices and to promote changes in the behaviour of businesses and private individuals, and cleaner mobility.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): We want to make sure that all transport models contribute to the de-carbonization strategy. We ask for a smart organization of the mobility network, increase in Europe’s rail capacity, support for the transition to low and zero-emissions vehicles and the appropriate infrastructure for that. We are working towards ending the 65 billion USD (57.5 billion Euro) fuel tax exemption for international aviation and a revision of the Chicago Convention as an essential step towards decarbonization.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): Our MEPs played a leading role in the Emissions Measurements in the Automotive Sector Commission of Inquiry in the European Parliament. We exposed the collusion between the Commission and the car industry, and proposed concrete measures to hold car manufacturers accountable. We defend a binding global scheme for aviation emissions. We want to democratise access to clean rail travel across Europe. We therefore oppose privatisation. This explainer about the First and Second Road Mobility Package explains our position in detail. 

European Greens:

One core Green goal is to transform the transport sector across Europe to overcome our dependency on polluting cars as quickly as possible, to stop the increasing pollution from aviation and to invest extensively in regional and cross-border railway networks. CO2 emissions from the transport sector continue to rise, particularly from cars and flights. Connecting countries and regions with fast trains, night trains and regional trains offers a positive alternative. To level the playing field between train and air traffic, flights need to be fairly taxed.

YDE (Young Democrats for Europe, youth wing of EDP): Two ideas: electrification of transportation and shared economy models. (1) Electrification of transportation, meaning the swift from the use of traditional fosil fuels to the use of electricity, will contribute to the environmental sustainability, reducing the impact in nature. (2) In addition, the increase and fostering of shared cars will contribute to the reduction of vehicles in European roads, reducing the consumption of energy, traffic jams, space needed for cars within the cities, etc. Smart mobility is one of the most relevant allies for progress and environmental sustainability.

What do you want to do to make sure that the European Union and its member states meet the climate goals they have agreed upon in the Paris Agreement?

EPP (European People’s Party): We defend the Paris Climate agreement and the Katowice COP24 goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2050. We will ensure an effective CO2 price with a well-functioning emissions trading system and further incentivise GHG reductions.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament have already endorsed the objective of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 and urged the Member States to do the same as part of the future Europe debate, at the special EU summit in Sibiu in May 2019. At the same time we have stressed that reaching net-zero GHG emissions in 2050 in the most cost-efficient manner requires raising and aligning the 2030 ambition level with net-zero 2050 scenarios and that is why we support an update of the Union’s NDC with an economy-wide target of 55% domestic GHG emission reductions by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. The Union needs to send a clear message, at the latest during the UN Climate Summit in New York in September 2019, that it stands ready to review its contribution to the Paris Agreement. In the next 5 years we will also have the opportunity during the 2022-2024 reviews of the 2030 climate package and other relevant legislation, to work on legislative proposals raising the ambition level in line with the updated NDC and the net-zero emissions target. It is clear that insufficient 2030 ambition would limit future options, possibly limiting the availability of some options for cost-efficient decarbonisation

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): LYMEC calls for continuing EU’s leadership and further progressing under the Paris Agreement, for the diversification of energy sources and improving energy security and for striving for more affordable energy prices as means to boosting the competitiveness of industrial startups.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): Our Climate Emergency Manifesto states our position in detail. This video states our priorities for COP24.

European Greens: Europe has to lead the way on climate action, making the Paris Agreement a reality. We want the EU to pursue all possible efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. We are calling for a European climate law, with binding carbon budgets reducing emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and building a net-zero emissions economy. This must include restoring natural carbon sinks in forests and soils.

YDE (Young Democrats for Europe, youth wing of EDP): Regarding the upcoming European elections, I think that it is important to check that the different manifestos of the European political families foresee climate actions and are in line with the COP21 agreement.

Which concrete actions do you propose in progressing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the next term?

EPP (European People’s Party): As the first provider of development and humanitarian assistance worldwide, the EU must continue to lead the fight against poverty and the efforts to achieve sustainable development globally. One way we will do this in our own neighbourhood is through a new Marshall Plan with Africa.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): S&D wants the work of the European Union completely reshaped in order to address the Sustainable Development Goals. We have to make sure that we help other countries around the world with sustainable development, but we also have to reach those goals here in the EU. This means refocusing our funding under the MFF, and adapting the European semester, so that all our actions and policies ultimately contribute towards attaining the SDGs. We also need to see that reflected in the structure of the European Commission and Parliament, with an ambitious, overarching strategy for achieving the 2030 Agenda in place by the end of this year, and a dedicated team at the top of the Commission working on this. We need the EU to take a leading role in the UN High-Level Political Forums each year to push the SDG agenda forward. In order to measure our progress we need to establish a wide range of indicators which are not purely economic and capture the transformative nature of the SDGs.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): LYMEC calls for an urgent global response, to address climate change with more tangible actions, research and investment to match the commitments made under the Paris Agreement. Europe’s leaders should ensure increased international cooperation, diplomatic pressure and staying united on the efforts to tackle climate change, by achieving the targets of the Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, especially as regards to the world’s major industrialized countries.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): We want that all trade agreements the EU signs with developing countries have a clause to commit the parties to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Likewise, we want developing countries to have the resources to meet Goals. As such, we address the injustice of the EU’s tax treaties that deprive developing countries of much needed revenues.

European Greens: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development highlights that the challenges we face are universal and interconnected. The Sustainable Development Goals must be implemented across all EU internal and external policies. The Union should adopt a high-level implementation strategy which identifies and addresses the gaps in current policies. On trade, any trade treaties must have the SDGs as their foundation.

YDE (Young Democrats for Europe, youth wing of EDP): Sustainability does not only stand for environment. It is also important to be aware of the implications of training, social development and health, among others. In this regard, Young Democrats for Europe is committed to fight against social breach, fostering social policies that do not leave any person behind. We also work for the improvement of training, fostering of dual education and paid internships. In addition, one of the lines of our own manifesto is fostering food sustainability within the EU, improving the conditions for R&D and fostering the acquisition of products in the local (European market). As we are concerned as well about the health of European citizens, we consider that it would be necessary to create a new European Food Safety Agency, which could carry out studies on the harmfulness of the products that are currently in dispute. Our measures regarding environmental sustainability have already been mentioned.

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