Friends from E3G mentioned to me an interesting aspect with regards to the run-up of the decisive 2009 Copenhagen conference for a new global CO2-reduction agreement (the “new” Kyoto): Out of the 15 top emitting countries half is holding national elections until December 2009. As we can already see in the US campaign, the climate challenge is an issue in the campaign and luckily both sides are (at least) in favour of some sort of cap-and-trade system. We can hopefully see more of this in other countries.

Top 15 emitters (random order) holding elections until December 2009: US, India, Germany, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico – and the European Parliament.

Other top 15 emitters (random order): Australia, China, France, Italy, Brazil, South Korea, UK, Russia.

Obviously most of the countries holding elections are key countries for a global climate accord and it is worthwhile investing capacities in raising the issue in those countries. For my own country (Germany) I am absolutely sure that the Greens will present their own new innovative concepts to bring attention to the issue. This will hopefully raise the game and bring clarity in a current discussion which is blurred by big words and rather unproductive action. The two most interesting aspects in the German debate will possibly be how to involve the individual further in climate-friendly behaviour and secondly how the transport sector can better contribute to efforts.

However, it might be the European Parliament elections in early June 2009 that hold the key to Europe’s climate change policies. Only if the newly-elected Commission comes to Copenhagen with an ambitious target and the willingness to move ahead – with bold unilateral steps if need be – enough pressure on others can be exercised and an upward spiral can be imagined. – I hope for the best.


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