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Dear Naturefriends,

From the perspective of ‘Climate Policy for Europe’, the year 2013 can only be referred to as disastrous: the extreme flood events in early summer and the hurricane fronts in December are ingrained in our memories. Climate change set in a long time ago and has now come to hit also the western industrialised countries.

But we also saw pictures of people in China, forced by the dense smog to wear respirator masks.  Notwithstanding these incontestable facts, negotiations on the next Global Climate Change Convention are advancing very sluggishly. Many industrialised countries, which, to this day, have remained the principal causal agents of climate change, believe that unilateral climate goals could imply a competitive disadvantage. This is why they insist on equal burden-sharing among all countries as the prerequisite for signing an agreement. The non-industrialised countries – as we choose to call them, because we deliberately shun the term “development” in the belief that the future of the globe will not depend on adopting the ‘western’ values subscribed to by the industrialised countries – first of all demand financial support in fighting the dramatic impact of climate change they are exposed to in the form of progressing desertification or the consequences of rising sea levels.
In actual fact there is no conflict of interests but a common goal: to secure a future for all and to fend off or at least mitigate danger scenarios against which the World Climate Council has only recently sounded another warning! Climate policy must not be seen as a burden but as an investment in the future which is, among other things, designed to create a large number of jobs. Even if Europe were to pursue unilateral objectives, the practical measures involved would generate knowledge as well as sustainable industrial products and services – thus developing know-how that could be marketed throughout the globe. Because the other industrialised countries as well as the newly industrialising countries also stand in need of an energy turnaround and have to invest in climate protection measures in their own best interests. It is our only option in the face of progressive climate change that knows no national boundaries.

With this in mind, Naturefriends strongly advocate ambitious climate protection goals, which will not only safeguard the quality of life of future generations but also help to make economic activity more sustainable.

With my best End-of-Year Wishes I combine the hope that 2014 will be a very successful year for all of us.

Berg frei!
Manfred Pils, President of the Naturefriends International

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