After a meeting in Brussels on January 13, AER President Michèle Sabban and the Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard agreed on a way forward to overcome the economic and ecological crisis
Strasbourg (F), 13 January 2011.
Michèle Sabban, President of the Assembly of European Regions (AER) met this morning with EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard to report on the policies implemented by European regions in the fields of adaptation to climate change and energy.
“I salute the commitment of Hedegaard and, more broadly, the new Directorate General responsible for Climate Action, for their interest in terms of implementation of energy policies on the ground” said Michèle Sabban. “It is now undeniable that the regions are in pole position to lead Europe towards sustainable growth models. Many of our members surveyed have already developed concrete action plans in the short and long term, some of which go beyond the objectives proposed by the European Commission (EC) in the energy-climate package. We must follow their example and start helping to build synergies between local strategies and European targets, “concluded Michèle Sabban.
Energy efficiency in the Regions of Europe
The Commissioner and the President of the AER agreed on the importance of a low-consumption Europe and the role that innovation plays in this regional context.
Michèle Sabban was able to present a series of diverse and innovative regional approaches highlighting the potential in local solutions.
Climate Change and Cohesion Policy
In its last recommendations, the EU Commission encourages EU member states to go beyond the “3×20%” objective. Several regions in Europe already produce energy from renewable sources in bigger proportions than the actual objective. However, it is important that Europe keeps and strengthens its leading position in the world. To this end, the AER President and the Commissioner share the opinion that climate action and regional development go hand in hand and that solutions for both have to be developed in an integrated way.
The recognition of the climate change issue and of the other fields pertaining to energy is a requirement for sustainable development in European territories. « Climate change must be taken into account in the Cohesion Policy, both in the case of convergence in order to assure the sustainable development of the weakest regions or in the framework of Objective 2, since it’s the whole European territory that must face these problems. » explained Michèle Sabban after her meeting with the Commissioner.
The regions of the world are already in the action.
Michèle Sabban had the opportunity to present another regional initiative to Mrs Hedegaard in the field of climate change, of which the AER is a founding member: the R20
This group consisting of 35 regions from 5 continents, was launched on the Governors’ World Summit on the 15th and 16th November in Sacramento. It aims to introduce efficient and concrete actions in the field of renewable energies, energy efficiency and climate policies. The objective of R20 is to boost public-private partnerships, exchange good practice, promote development of green innovations and to push pilot clean energy projects.
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