Leading MEP calls for a special EU climate security envoy fearing ‘without one very little would happen’
Saturday, 24 November 2012
South West Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson has called for the creation of an EU special representative on climate security as he fears that "without one very little would happen".
Speaking in a European Parliament debate on Wednesday this week in Strasbourg, he said: "the issue of climate change has been overshadowed in public debate by other security concerns, especially in North Africa. But there have been three reports this week: the World Bank’s estimate of a 4° temperature rise by the end of the century, the United Nations saying action to curb emissions is falling short of what is needed and the European Environment Agency reporting that the effects of climate change are already being felt here in Europe, as I have seen in my constituency in South West England in the last day or two."
The city of Bristol as well as large parts of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset experienced large amounts of rainfall and record numbers of flood warnings were issued. Many roads were flooded, rail services in and out of the region were severely disrupted and more than 500 households affected in what has been dubbed the region's worst floods for decades.
Devon and Somerset fire and rescue service dealt with 875 flooding incidents out of a total of almost 1,400 incidents since the middle of last week while the Cornwall fire and rescue service received more than 520 emergency calls in two days, as around 114 properties were flooded across the county.
To make matters worse, a deadlock in ongoing government negotiations with british insurers could mean homes at risk of flooding could be "uninsurable", and budget cutbacks mean around 150 proposed flood defence schemes to protect thousands of Westcountry homes and businesses will not get state support this year.
“Climate change is not only adding to the costs of government, it is aggravating the threats to peace and security as the greater impact of climate change beyond our borders causes war about water and adds to the number of climate refugees,” Sir Graham continued.
“This has been acknowledged by High Representative Solana some five years ago, by our foreign ministers last year and again by the Council Presidency today, yet no action has been forthcoming.”
“I call on the Council to reinvigorate the informal Steering Group on Climate Change and to establish a climate envoy because, without that, very little will happen.”
His call for such as post was backed last week by the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.
Hailing from the truly beautiful South West region of the UK, Andrew now works in Brussels and is a UK passport holder, European citizen, and a twice employee at the European Parliament.
While the EU in its current form is far from perfect, he is nonetheless firmly of the belief that the UK's prosperity and place in the world is best served as a member state and not as an isolated bystander.
Since October 2009, this blog seeks to document the work that our region's MEPs do for us in Brussels. As such, predictably, it rarely features UKIP.