We need to put fairness at the heart of our climate transition - Fitzgerald
Press Statement from Frances Fitzgerald MEP
Wednesday 8th July 2020
Frances Fitzgerald, MEP for Dublin and full member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, today (Wednesday) welcomed the progress made at European level towards a sustainable Just Transition Fund that ensures no one is left behind in the climate transition.
“On May 28, the EU gave the strongest signal of political support to the Just Transition when European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, increased the Just Transition Fund from €7.5 billion to €40 billion, as part of the EU’s COVID-19 recovery package.
“Having worked on the EU’s Just Transition Fund as EPP rapporteur for the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, I was glad that we could endorse the Ms von der Leyen’s €40 billion funding proposal in our report adopted last week.
“The EU and its Member States have committed to become climate neutral by 2050. We cannot underestimate the challenges of this climate transition. And most importantly, we cannot forget the potential hardship that will come of it, particularly for those workers whose factories and power plants will be shut down due to their carbon emissions.
“In the Parliament report, we have called for funding to be directed specifically at those regions that will be mostly affected in the EU. The report goes on to say that funding should be directed primarily towards sustainable employment opportunities in these regions, with investments focused on the development of new renewable energy facilities, retrofitting of old buildings, restoration of land and ecosystems, protecting biodiversity and restoring natural habitats.
“In Ireland, the midlands has been identified as one of those regions most affected by the climate transition, with almost €180 million earmarked from the EU Just Transition Fund.
“Huge uncertainties face these communities in the Midlands, which have depended on peat production for generations.
“And while we must live up to our international obligations on climate change, we also must live up to our promises to these communities that the transition will be just. The transition from peat is our first test as a country in the Just Transition process and we must get it right.
“The EU will be of important assistance as we go through this process but we need to show consistent political will to ensure that fairness is at the heart of our climate transition process,” concluded Ms. Fitzgerald.
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