26 April, 2007
While Brussels is basking in the April summer heat and citizens are out on the streets enjoying the “friendly face” of climate change, members of the European Parliament are feverishly trying to position themselves as important players on the climate policy battle field.
To “co-ordinate” the parliament’s position on these issues, the MEPs decided on Wednesday 25 April to establish a temporary committee consisting of no less than 60 members. The committee will have a mandate of one year. I am sure we will see lots of MEPs flying to Washington and Beijing in the next 12 months to help solve this global crisis. Good business for all the carbon offset companies and therefore good for Europe’s competitiveness!
Meanwhile, in a demonstration of perfect timing, two Green MEPs (Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert) presented an independent report trying to make the case for one seat of the European Parliament on the basis of climate change arguments. The monthly 4-day presence in Strasbourg leads to an extra CO2 burden of over 20,000 tonnes each year according to the report. Useful information for sure but why not produce a more substantial study on the energy/climate change impact of all institutions? It would be useful and politically relevant to have a yearly overview of the carbon footprint of Commission, Parliament, Council, EcoSoc, the Committee of the Regions etc. and to see if and how they are reducing their climate change impact.
Finally, I have two starting recommendations for the new temporary committee and the two green MEPs (further recommendations will have to be paid for :)). Start by abolishing most of the superfluous parliament delegations as they are no more and no less than cute travel agencies to exotic places for many MEPs. And then halve the number of MEPs. Do we really need over 700 of them?