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Juncker Commission’s commitment to climate action looks doubtful after Cañete hearing


This evening in Brussels, Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner-designate for Climate Action and Energy, faced tough questions from Members of the European Parliament, about his commitment to climate action and the low-carbon transformation of our energy system.



"Whatever the legal judgement, Cañete will never get rid of his image of being linked to the fossil fuel industry. We need a Climate Commissioner from a government with a more progressive record on climate action. One who shows more commitment to the urgency of climate change than Commissioner-designate Cañete has shown tonight,” said Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe.


“If Juncker is serious about tackling climate change then he needs to appoint a Commissioner  prepared to fight for increased climate ambition, who will challenge Member States to go beyond what they are currently prepared to do. He also needs a Vice-President that treats energy and climate action equally,” added Trio.


“We need all Commissioners to integrate climate change into their portfolios, in particular all those who are part of the climate and energy project team. Which strangely enough is not the case right now,” concluded Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe.


We are just one year away from the Climate Summit in Paris, where the world is expected to adopt a new legal global agreement on climate action. The world is looking at Europe to determine the level of ambition with which the negotiations are approached. The scientific evidence is clear, the impacts of current inadequate policies will be devastating, not only for poor people across the globe, but also for the people of Europe. The new European Commission has a clear role to play in setting the bar as high as possible on climate action.





Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +32.473.17.08.87


Matthew Keys, Communications Coordinator at CAN Europe,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +32 497 700 372


Statement on UNSG's Climate Summit by Climate Action Network and the Global Call for Climate Action


The UNSG's Climate Summit today contributed to the growing sense that the fossil fuel era is ending and delivered some momentum towards an international climate agreement to be signed in Paris next year, according to civil society groups organized in two major networks.

A small but growing number of countries joined UNSG Ban Ki-moon and actor Leonardo diCaprio to confirm the need to speed up the switch from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy, such as Samoa, Tuvalu, Costa Rica and Denmark. Other countries, like Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Ethiopia and Iceland pledged to go carbon neutral by 2050.

While the Summit produced positive signals and some money on the table for climate action, many governments came to New York today to merely restate what they are already doing. As the almost 700,000 people who joined the Peoples Climate marches over the weekend know, what they are already doing is not nearly enough.

"Leaders in New York, including US President Barack Obama, acknowledged they can no longer act against the will of the people. And on the weekend, the will of the people was made profoundly clear. Mums and dads, people of faith, progressive business leaders, union members and youth - all are already taking action in massive numbers, and they expect Heads of Government to join them and do more, now," Climate Action Network director Wael Hmaidan said.

"Government leaders have the choice to lead the orderly transformation of our societies or to end up on the wrong side of history."

China should be commended for signaling its intention to peak emissions as soon as possible. Such moves along with more ambitious actions by the US - which President Obama hinted at - could accelerate negotiations towards the global climate agreement due next year. We now need them to translate their positive rhetoric into concrete commitments – carbon cuts and climate finance for the world's vulnerable nations.

Christian Aid's Senior Climate Change Advisor Mohamed Adow said, "those countries that are hawking old goods today have to go back to their capitals with a renewed determination to get their countries on the right path with the words of the Marshall Islands', Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner ringing in their ears, who said in the opening ceremony on behalf of civil society "We deserve to not just survive. We deserve to thrive."


  • Ria Voorhaar, CAN International, email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , phone: +49 157 3173 5568
  • Christian Teriete, GCCA, email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , phone: +49 176 8050 7753


About CAN and GCCA

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 900 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More at:
The Global Call for Climate Action is an international network of diverse non-profit organizations working to mobilize civil society and galvanize public opinion in support of climate action. More at:

Further Civil Society statements here:





EU Specific Statements:

Oxfam on EU statement at the Summit

Brussels Calling – European citizens send climate asks to New York summit.

Brussels Calling – European citizens send climate asks to New York summit.


European Citizens summit attendees call upon leaders to increase climate action at New York Climate Summit.

[23 September, EU Citizens Summit, Brussels]

On the morning of the UN Climate Summit in New York [1], hundreds of people attending the European Citizens Summit [2] in Brussels have sent messages calling for their governments to ramp up action on climate change.

Climate Action Network Europe (CAN Europe) and Friends of the Earth Europe offered people attending the summit the opportunity to send their ‘Climate Asks’ to the Ban Ki-moon Summit.  Many concerned people wrote strong messages, demanding urgent climate action from their heads of state or government who are due to meet today at the UN in New York.

The pictures have been circulating online via the hashtag #MyClimateAsk.

The messages uniformly called for immediate, concrete and ambitious action from the talks: “SERIOUSLY, Do Something ”, read one; “concrete action! No progress reports!” read another. Others called on world leaders to “stop funding fossil fuels”, and called for the EU to adopt binding 40% energy efficiency targets for 2030.


"European citizens are worried about climate change and want our leaders to act. The New York Summit is the opportunity for our governments to live up to the expectations of the European public. We want to hear new plans to increase renewable energy, lower energy consumption, reduce the use of fossil fuels and expand financial support to climate action in poor countries," said Wendel Trio Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe.

 “This summit is a moment for the EU to signal increased ambition in the run-up to October’s EU Council on 2030 targets. It would be embarrassing for its weak and ineffective proposal on emission reductions, energy savings and renewables targets to be presented in front of so many world leaders in New York,” said Susann Scherbarth, Climate and Energy Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe.


The action follows on from the global People’s Climate March, which saw the largest ever mobilization of people calling for governments and polluters to stop blocking the urgent action required to halt catastrophic climate change. More than 400,000 people took to the streets of New York, while more than 2000 people marched in Brussels on Sunday. Marchers have signaled this is as the beginning of a growing public movement away from a fossil fuelled economy.

Photos can be viewed here: - 23 and via the @FoEEurope and @CANEurope Twitter accounts.



[1] The UN Climate Summit has been organised by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. It is intended to increase political momentum ahead of December 2015 when a new international climate agreement will be signed at the UN climate negotiations in Paris.

[2] The European Citizens Summit is an annual conference organised by the EU Civil Society Contact Group, aiming to envision a Europe for and from citizens. The Civil Society Contact Group (CSCG) brings together eight large rights and value based NGO sectors. Jointly we organise the second edition of the Summit in September 2014. This event will address Europe’s growth obsession and create a space for citizens to discuss an alternative vision of Europe.


Matthew Keys, Communications Coordinator at CAN Europe, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +32 497 700 372

Susann Scherbarth, Climate and Energy Campaigner Friends of the Earth Europe, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +32 486 34 18 37

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      [Brussels – September 22, 2014]

      A group of leading NGOs active in the Balkan region [1] are calling for urgent reform of the Energy Community Treaty, as its Ministerial Council prepares to meet in Kiev on September 23rd [2]. The groups are calling for both the expansion of the environmental and climate component of the Treaty and measures to ensure that existing obligations are better enforced.

      "Energy Community Treaty reform is a once in a decade opportunity to garner support for the EU's neighbours to meet EU climate and energy targets", said Garret Tankosić-Kelly, Principal of SEE Change Net Foundation.

      "The New Climate Economy report demonstrates that sustainable development is only attainable through the joint action of countries at all income levels, particularly in the energy sector which is still the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the Balkans," added Dragana Mileusnic of CAN Europe.

      Recent changes in the European Commission structure, where high priority has been given to the concept of an Energy Union, under Vice-President Alenka Bratušek, are expected to lead to the EU strengthening its cooperation with the Energy Community in the following years.

      "Governments in Contracting Parties must give EU environmental law as much importance as EU energy rules. Only with the stronger environmental rules can we ensure the creation of a fair common energy market for the EU and the Energy Community," said Malgorzata Smolak of Client Earth.
      Weak enforcement of Energy Community rules set forth in the Treaty remains one of the major obstacles for their full implementation. Strengthening enforcement must be the top priority of the reform, while more EU environmental legislation needs to be included in the Treaty, NGOs concluded. They also expect to be more effectively engaged in the work of the Energy Community to ensure better transparency and public participation.


      Dragana Mileusnic, CAN Europe Policy Officer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +32 471 438 442

      Masha Durkalic, SEE Change Net Communications Officer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +387 63 999 827

      [1] The NGOs are: SEE Change Net Foundation, Bosnia and Herzegovina ∙ Client Earth, Poland ∙ Front 21/42, Macedonia ∙ CAN Europe, Belgium ∙ Analytica, Macedonia ∙ Advocacy and Training Resource Center – ATRC, Kosovo ∙ CEKOR, Serbia ∙ Public Interest Advocacy Center – CPI, Bosnia and Herzegovina ∙ Center for Environment, Bosnia and Herzegovina ∙ DOOR, Croatia ∙ Environmental Center for Development, Education and Networking – EDEN, Albania ∙ Ekolevizja, Albania ∙ Eko-Svest, Macedonia ∙ Forum for Freedom of Education – FSO, Croatia ∙ Fractal, Serbia ∙ Green Home, Montenegro ∙ MANS, Montenegro ∙ World Wide Fund For Nature - Mediterranean Programme∙ CEE Bankwatch Network, Czech Republic.

      [2] The Energy Community is an organisation set up to help the countries of the Western Balkans and the Black Sea region adopt and implement existent EU energy policies (EU Energy Acquis). The Ministerial Council is the highest decision-making body of the Energy Community and comprises of the energy Ministers from the Contracting Parties and representatives of the European Union.

      European Parliament calls for urgent climate action

      European Parliament calls for urgent climate action

      Debate held as major new report on the climate economy is launched and one week before the UN New York Climate Summit begins


      Brussels. 16 September 2014.

      Today Members of the European Parliament engaged in a debate on the urgency of climate change calling for increased European action. The debate was held just ahead of next week's UN Climate Summit in New York [1]. Thirty-two parliamentarians from all the major political groups spoke, stressing the need for the EU to increase its climate action, and to take additional measures to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the short-term. European Council and Commission statements were given by Benedetto Della Vedova, Italian Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs and Connie Hedegaard, the current EU Commissioner for Climate Action.

      MEPs called for the EU to increase investments in renewable energy and energy savings, to reform the ailing Emissions Trading Scheme, to scale up the provision of financial support for climate action in developing countries, and to adopt - at the October European Council - an ambitious emission reduction target for 2030, well beyond the proposed 40%. This call was supported by the findings of the newly released Better growth Better Climate – The New Climate Economy Report. [2]

      Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe said:

      "Today's debate in the European Parliament is a welcome sign that the urgency to tackle climate change is high on the political agenda. We now need our leaders to act in a way that reflects this call during next week's Climate Summit in New York."

      "The new UN report on the economics of climate change makes it clear that transforming to a low-carbon society will bring economic benefits. It is time for our leaders to stop listening to the big corporate polluters who want to defend their status quo, whatever the cost to society and future generations."


      [1] On 23 September, the UN Climate Summit 2014 will welcome more than 120 Heads of State and Government as well as leaders from business and civil society, to make specific commitments to reduce climate change and its impacts. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's aim is to increase political momentum and ambition for agreeing the new climate treaty at the Paris Climate Summit in December 2015. This year's Summit will be preceded by a weekend of global action by people, civil society organisations and faith groups across the world. For more information see:

      [2] Better Growth Better Climate - The New Climate Economy Report was released today by a Commission of global leaders. The report shows that governments and businesses can improve economic growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions together. Rapid technological innovation and new investment in infrastructure are making it possible today to tackle climate change at the same time as improving economic performance. For more information see:


      Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe, wendel/at/, +32 473 17 08 87
      Matthew Keys, Communications Manager, matthew/at/, +32 497 700 372

      Grave concerns of environmental NGOs- open letter to President Juncker


      For Immediate Release

      Grave concerns of environmental NGOs- open letter to President Juncker

      Brussels, Belgium - 11 September 2014

      The Green 10, the alliance of leading environmental NGOs at EU level, supported by over 20 million EU citizens and active in all 28 Member States, wrote today an open letter to President Jean-Claude Juncker to express grave concerns over the direction the EU seems to be taking with the announcement of his new team.

      The coalition highlights that the structure of the new Commission, the mission letters, and the choice of Commissioners all reveal a serious downgrading of environment and a roll back of EU commitments to sustainable development, resource efficiency, air quality, biodiversity protection and climate action.

      In particular the Green10 are concerned that:

      • The move from a Commissioner with dedicated responsibilities for environment to having this policy area shared with other demanding dossiers represents a clear relegation of environmental issues in the order of political priorities. This is reinforced by the virtual lack of any reference to environment in the responsibilities of the Vice-Presidents.

      • The mandate to the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner seems entirely centered on deregulation, asking a review of all current major initiatives underway. It does not mention the need to achieve any EU objectives, let alone take new initiatives.

      • The inclusion in the mandate of orders to consider changing the EU Nature protection legislation, pre-empting the results of the ongoing fitness check, suggests a high level decision to weaken biodiversity protection in the EU. This is even more troubling as the Environment portfolio is given to a Commissioner whose government is under intense international criticism for failing to implement EU bird conservation legislation, which the Commissioner will now be in position to amend.

      • The merging of the climate and energy portfolios and putting this Commissioner under a Vice President for Energy Union could imply that Climate Action is considered subordinate to energy market considerations.
      • The choice of a Climate and Energy Commissioner with well-known links to the fossil fuel industry raises issues of conflict of interest.

      • The shift of the responsibility for relations with the European Chemicals Agency, whose job is to protect European citizens from harmful chemicals, from DG Environment to DG Enterprise shows a clear bias towards prioritizing business interests over protection of human health and the environment and flies in the face of the objectives of the REACH Regulation.

      • The fact that sustainable development, resource efficiency and the green economy are not covered at all at Vice-President level implies a Commission that will be operating on the basis of an outdated paradigm of economic growth, one that benefits the industries and jobs of the past over those of the future, and detached from real world constraints and limits.

      • Your promise not to authorize any legislative initiative that is not in line with your priorities, combined with the virtual absence of any environmental priorities, suggests a de-facto shut down of EU environmental policy making.

      Here attached the full text of the letter

      Media contact

         Matthew Keys
         Communications Manager
         Direct line: +32 2894 4673
         Email: matthew/at/

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