The need to shift economies onto a lower carbon route and to acknowledge the direct links between the resilience of ecosystems and that of national economies were highlighted by the Prince of Wales at today’s opening of Parliament’s Low Carbon Prosperity Summit. European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy all advocated using low-carbon technologies to build prosperity.
The Prince of Wales stressed the need “to move away from the conventional economic model of growth which is based on the production of high carbon intensity products”, adding that “Success will be in building low-carbon industries that provide not only substantial economic opportunity, but also a means to ensure Europe’s competitiveness”.
Promoting diversity and partnerships
The Prince’s proposals for tackling climate change whilst maintaining economic viability included valuing and supporting local communities, adopting policies that focus funding on strengthening diversity and promoting effective public/private partnerships. He stressed the need to achieve a “green economy” which would “rely on sustainable asset management, more productive processing of waste, the construction of new, zero-carbon buildings and the retro-fitting of existing stock” and also upon “achieving stringent energy efficiency targets for our buildings, cars and household goods”.
Investing in innovation
European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said that the EU 2020 Strategy “will help us create a green, low-carbon economy by investing in innovation and new technologies”. He welcomed the Prince’s presence at the summit, highlighting his active engagement in environmental issues, and stressed the importance of holding conferences where “ideas are generated that help make laws better”, and pointed out that “The European Energy Community, which was proposed in the European Parliament on the 5th May last year, will not only reduce the cost but also the use of electricity and gas”.
Using resources efficiently
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said that “The only adequate answer to ensure the preservation of the planet, security of supply and economic growth is to turn to a more efficient use of resources”. He stressed the need to get framework conditions right for investment and highlighted the benefits of low-carbon technologies. He also noted that despite progress already made, “it is not time to take our foot off the accelerator”, adding that a new set of targets will be endorsed for 2050.
President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, called for a “revolution in energy systems”, noting that a large part of the latest European Council, on 4 February, had been devoted to energy. He stressed the need to invest in energy savings, smart grids and smart meters, adding that “we must use less energy”. Mr Van Rompuy also stressed the need to combine national and EU action in order “to achieve synergies and economies of scale”.