Lynn Boylan MEP
Lynn Boylan MEP

"Greta has been a beacon of hope for people who feel overwhelmed by the crisis of Climate Change"


Press briefing from Strasbourg today: Lynn explains tomorrow's Plenary debate on Climate Change which will take place in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

For our political group (GUE NGL) Climate Change is one of our number one priorities. We can’t continue to do the job that we do if we don’t have a hospitable environment to do so.

The background to the debate that’s going to take place tomorrow is that the current EU targets which were set during the Paris Agreement, were set with 2degrees in mind and since then the IPCC report came out in October which said even with a target of 1.5 degrees is not even guaranteed to be safe.

So for us as a political group it is essential that those who are in positions of making legislation follow the science, and in order to that we need to have much greater ambition from the EU and we need the EU to show the leadership that is required and that is lacking internationally to deal with Climate Change.

So, it’s not good enough to say that we all have to wait for others to step up to the plate the EU needs to show that they are the leaders on Climate Change. The long term strategy that has been presented by the Commission lacks ambition. Of it’s eight scenarios only one of them is even worth considering. It has no midterm targets, it has a fixation on a target of 2050, and an over reliance on technical solutions. But the fixation on the 2050, when it was discussed in the Parliament we challenged them on, "Why no mid term targets?", because its typical of kicking the can down the road of fixating on 2050 when the IPCC report tells us we have 12 years of which to tackle this problem.

The thing on the Climate Activists is that it’s very clear that people are ahead of the politicians when it comes to Climate Change they know that to date we have failed, and failed to get a grips of what is probably the biggest threat that we face globally. And we’re seeing a shift in people, I suppose their patience has gone they want action and they’re calling on the politicians to step up and deliver on that action. Apart from the climate strikes that are gaining in numbers, we have seen mass mobilisations, 40,000 people in the Netherlands, 75,000 people in Brussels, we’ve also seen a number of successful legal cases being taken.

Particularly, last week in Brussels, I co-hosted the Climate case that’s being taken by CAN Action Europe, which is citizens across the EU who are taking on the three EU institutions and demanding that they step up on their ambition. It’s part of that which is why GUE NGL, along with the SND and the Greens, put in that request to bring the climate activists and the young activists to Strasbourg to make their case. And not to patronise them but to make the case of why we are failing them, and what it is that we need to do.

We do condemn the decision taken at the conference of Presidents to block Greta from speaking in the Parliament. Greta Thunberg has been a beacon of hope for people who feel overwhelmed by the crisis of climate change, and also I think the fact that Greta speaks truth to power she says it as it as.

And so what we want to come out of bringing the activists here, we want to hear from them, we want to then to tell us what we need to do, not us tell them what we’re going to do. But also coming out of the debate tomorrow we want to send a very very clear message, one to the activists and the people taking to the streets that the politicians are listening to them. But also a very clear message to the European leaders going into the conference in May on the future of Europe that they have to up their ambition on Climate Change. We have to go for a 55% reduction by 2030 if we want any hope of staying within the 1.5 degrees. And when we are told that we cannot reopen the directives, that we cannot go and re-do the negotiations, we’ve seen that the institutions are quite capable of taken crisis action when it comes to saving banks. We have seen that they have been effective in coming together when dealing with Brexit. So this is a huge crisis and we need to have that increased ambition, we need that to come out of the debate tomorrow, but also to come out of the summit in Cebu in May.

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