COMMENTS: Mateusz Gibała

Bütikofer: If we continue business as usual, we will not achieve climate neutrality (INTERVIEW)

If we continue with business as usual and do not make the necessary investments in clean technologies, we will not achieve a climate neutral Europe in 2050 – says the German MEP of Greens/EFA Reinhard Bütikofer in an interview for What is your stand on the European Green Deal? How do you assess the influence of the planned reforms on the environment and European economy?

Reinhard Bütikofer: When your house is on fire, you don’t wait years to put it out. To save the climate, 2020 is crucial. The European Union must now take on a leadership role to achieve an international commitment to ambitious climate targets in time for the Glasgow COP in November 2020. The European Climate Law presented by the European Commission on Wednesday, 4th March, falls short of the promises enshrined in the Green Deal and does not live up to the EU’s claim to take this leading role in climate protection. The European Commission does not intend to commit itself until September 2020, following an impact assessment, while the Greens/EFA are calling for an immediate and clear commitment to a 65% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

According to a recent analyses by Deutsche Bank Research, at a present level of technological development, Europe will not be able to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. What do you think about it?

I do share the somber outlook of Deutsche Bank and many other experts: if we continue with business as usual and do not make the necessary investments in clean technologies, we will not achieve a climate neutral Europe in 2050. Time to act!

Germany wants to quit the nuclear and coal energy. How to stabilize the energy system without these two sources of energy?

Germany has taken bold steps forward and invested wisely in renewable energy sources. However, recent years have seen a setback and the German climate protection law proposal is symbolic for this lack of ambition of the current government. Citizen’s support for renewable energies and local community energy is continuously rising and it is high time to act in line with our international climate commitment to the Paris Agreement.

American sanctions against Nord Stream 2 have come into force. Do you think that Russia will manage to finish the construction on its own and what does it mean for European energy security?

European Energy Security can never be achieved at the expense of forgetting or ignoring solidarity among the EU’s member states. Nord Stream 2 means a double lock-in, first a lock-in with a past, fossil-fuel technology and secondly a lock-in with a difficult partner: Russia. Nord Stream 2 is not economically necessary nor viable. We don’t need it for security of supply either. Russia may complete the pipeline even against U.S. sanctions, but that will only succeed in running deeper into a dead end.

Interview by Michał Perzyński