So, Commission President Barroso has nominated his new Commission, and moved around some roles.
Given the name of this blog, clearly the Environment Commissioner is particularly important, and President Barroso has nominated the current Slovenian DG Research Commissioner, Janez Potočnik.
Commissioner Potočnik has a blog already, as DG Research Commissioner, and he has posted quite a few entries on climate/low carbon economy, and also on the broader issue of sustainable development, including the following statement:
“Our ability to sustain will depend on whether we can and want to change our behaviour, both at global and at local levels in our daily lives. It will hinge on whether can find a new model of economic development that marries economic, social and environmental objectives: profit, people and planet. Sustainability is no longer an issue of morality only; it is also becoming an issue of self-interest”
Update: He has also posted a brief statement on his nomination as Environment Commissioner.
In his new job (assuming he is accepted by the parliament) he will be in an important position to address the challenge of sustainable development.
It’s true that DG Environment has lost climate policy to the new DG Climate Action, but there are many other important policy areas still in the DG, which have an important part to play in reducing our climate impacts, as well as moving us towards a more sustainable world.
- We in Europe are using an ever-increasing amount of the world’s resources, and we are particularly dependent on imported resources. Yet Europe is not even measuring its resource use, nor does it have any targets to reduce it (we have some ideas that could help). This is in spite of the fact that resource efficiency is also economically beneficial.
- The EU has been developing policies on waste for many years, yet we still dispose of more than €5 billion per year of valuable resources by landfill or incineration; if these materials were recycled it would save climate emissions equivalent to taking around 47 million cars off the road every year.
- The EU has a target to halt the loss in biodiversity within the EU by 2010 – this will not be met, according to the European Environment Agency. At the same time, the global biodiversity situation is even worse, with the EU directly responsible for some of this through the impacts of our consumption. For example, the impacts on wildlife of soy production in South America – soy that is used to feed Europe’s chickens, cows and pigs.
[For a longer list of policies for the new Commission, see the Spring Alliance manifesto.]