Comparison of policies on Climate Change - EU Elections 2019

EU group policy comparison

This post is a comparison of the Climate Change policies of the European political groups competing in the upcoming 2019 European elections. I have written it from an Irish perspective and it only covers groups that contain member parties running in Ireland. I have only taken information from the published party manifestos. My sources are below.

UPDATE: You can read an analysis of these policies in my follow up post.

Full disclosure: I am a member of The Green Party, who in turn are part of The European Greens. I have made every effort to be neutral in my reading of these policies.

The EPP manifesto, which they link to from their home page, is from 2012. As that’s the only document they seem to have published it’s what I’ve used.

I do not have policies for the independents, or the political parties who have not chosen a group. I understand that that is a disadvantage to those candidates and I would recommend you research them yourself.

This comparison is only meant to be a starting point. You should research the parties yourself and make your own decision on who to vote for.

It is especially worth bearing in mind that the parties published their manifestos at different points in time, and may have published additional information after the fact.

If you believe any of this information is incorrect please contact me on twitter and I’ll work to correct it.

* The Social Democrats and Independents 4 Change have stated they would discuss sitting with S&D and GUE/GNL respectively. This is not a guarantee that they will vote with those blocks.

Irish parties in group

Fianna Fáil
Green Party
EPP
Fine Gael
  • Independents 4 Change *
  • People before Profit
  • Sinn Féin
  • Socialist Party
  • Labour Party
  • Social Democrats *

Climate emergency

Will declare a climate emergency
No Mention
No Mention
EPP
No Mention
Yes
No Mention

Carbon Emissions

Target reduction for 2030
55%
At least 55%
EPP
No Mention
At least 65%
No Mention
Carbon neutral by
2050
EPP
No Mention
2040
2050
Stick to Paris Agreement and aim for 1.5°C of global warming
No firm commitment
Pursue all possible efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5
EPP
No Mention
Revise all targets to what is scientifically necessary to curb global warming well below 1.5°C
Raise the EU’s climate ambition in line with the Paris Agreement and the latest science on climate change
Tax carbon
No Mention
Europe should require Member States to raise taxes on fossil fuels and consider environmental taxes at the European level, for example on flights and plastics.
EPP
No Mention
No Mention
Emissions should be taxed EU-wide in a socially fair way, making polluters pay and supporting investment in affordable clean energy
Emissions trading
Complete the Energy Union. Strengthen the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) as the key instrument for reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Want a strong carbon-floor price in the emissions trading system
EPP
Renewable energy through emission trading
Abolish the EU Emissions trading system
No Mention

Energy Sources

Phase out coal
  • No explicit mention
  • All fossil fuels by 2050
by 2030
EPP
No Mention
by 2030
No Mention
Phase out gas
  • No explicit mention
  • All fossil fuels by 2050
As soon as possible after 2030
EPP
No Mention
by 2030
No Mention
Fully renewable
by 2050
As soon as possible after 2030
EPP
No Mention
  • Fossil fuels phased out by 2030
  • Fully renewable by 2040
No Mention
Nuclear power
No Mention
Nuclear power has no role to play in the clean energy future
EPP
No Mention
A rapid phase out of nuclear energy
No Mention
Fracking
No explicit mention
EPP
No Mention
No explicit mention
No Mention
Biofuels
No Mention
Biofuels must have a low carbon footprint and must not compete with food production or cause biodiversity loss
EPP
No Mention
Phase out first generation biofuels, including palm oil and soy by 2030
No Mention
State led investment
No Mention
A Green New Deal to channel billions into sustainable investments and innovation
EPP
No Mention
Increase investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy savings in all sectors
Support investment in affordable clean energy
Energy security
No Mention
No Mention
EPP
  • The European Union needs a common energy policy that provides energy security, increases efficiency and is sustainable as well as affordable for consumers.
  • Guarantee energy security for our citizens and a competitive and stable environment for European industries
  • The completion of Trans European Energy Network and development of new sources and routes should be a priority for the EU ́s energy security
Enshrine the right to renewable energy
No Mention

Transport

Airline fuel tax exemptions
End the exemption
End the exemption
EPP
No Mention
No Mention
No Mention
Flight Tax
No Mention
Tax flights and roads according to polluter-pays principle
EPP
No Mention
No Mention
No Mention
Rail
High-speed trains should connect all of Europe's metropolises, state monopolies in the railroad market should be opened up
Build a sustainable transport system by investing in railways, connecting European countries and regions with more accessible and affordable trains, including fast and night trains
EPP
No Mention
No Mention
No Mention
Roads
  • Welcome the moves towards more zero-emission vehicles on our roads and decarbonisation of all transport modes
  • Extend EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to transport
  • Stronger public transportation as well as reducing the necessity for transport to remedy traffic congestion and pollution across Europe
  • No new fossil-fuel cars should be sold in Europe after 2030
EPP
The transport sector needs a rapid decrease in the use of fossil fuels and a major cut in production of green house gases.
Radically rethink transport, focusing on zero-emission public transport which should be free for all and promote active mobility
Plan for Affordable Housing and Clean Public Transport in Europe
Freight
  • Greater investment in smart mobility, cross-border and sustainable infrastructure projects including Trans-European Networks, in particular for railroads
  • Reduction of industry and transport emissions including aviation and shipping
  • More investment in inland waterways and rail and intermodal hubs
  • Parts of freight transport can be moved to rails or existing waterways
  • All trucks, vans, trains, ships and planes must eventually become zero-emission vehicles
  • Controls of sulphur emissions from shipping must be extended to all coasts and heavy fuel oil banned in the Arctic and Antarctic regions
EPP
No Mention
No Mention
No Mention
Cycling and walking
No Mention
Create low-emission zones in towns and cities across Europe and promote cycling and walking
EPP
No Mention
Promote active mobility
No Mention

Climate Justice

No Mention
  • Workers and regions need a just transition to sustainable livelihoods
  • A special European scheme should be set up to finance retraining and moving to new jobs, providing social security and alleviating fears
  • Secure adequate minimum income schemes in all European countries
  • Public investments in social, affordable and energy-efficient housng should be supported with European funds
EPP
No Mention
  • Revise the EU 2050 long-term carbon-neutral strategy to focus on climate justice
  • Ensure just transition is at the heart of climate action, alleviate energy poverty, guarantee the right to equal access to energy and stop policies that burden vulnerable and marginalised people
  • Give people, especially the youth, a voice in our climate policies and prioritise inclusive climate education
Guarantee citizens’ well-being and ensure social and ecological progress, leaving no person and no territory behind in the green and digital transitions.
Development
We believe that increased international climate and environmental cooperation is crucial to meet the Paris Agreement targets and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) [2030 Agenda], and that the EU must take global leadership in setting global ambitious targets
  • The Paris Agreement, international labour standards rules and Sustainable Development Goals must form the foundation of trade treaties
  • Multinational companies should be required to exercise due diligence throughout their supply chain to make sure their business is not in breach of human rights or sustainable development.
EPP
Our concept of man calls for responsible management of the earth with a view to satisfying the just needs of all and improving the living conditions and quality of life of everyone, whilst also ensuring sustainable development to protect the legitimate interests of future generations
Achieve all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and use the SDGs as essential benchmarks for all legislative actions in every policy field, acknowledging that climate goals are related to all other SDGs
  • The EU must adopt a Sustainable Development Pact with social and ecological targets to ensure that economic interests do not trump the environment
  • A Just Transition Fund will help to implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda and Goals by 2030 in a socially fair way
  • We will make sure the EU includes binding social and environmental standards, human rights, consumer protection and workers’ rights in all future trade agreements

Growth

'Sustainable growth'
No Mention
EPP
No Mention
Immediate measures must be taken to counteract the constant growth model
Foster 'sustainable growth'

Circular economy and consumption reductions

Transitioning to a resource-efficient circular economy has a huge potential to foster jobs, growth, and Competitiveness
  • Introduction of taxes on the extraction and import of raw materials
  • Products to last longer and fixing them to be made easier by requiring them to be repairable and increasing the duration of warranties to combat planned obsolescence
  • Non-recyclable plastics must be taxed or banned, sustainable alternatives developed
  • Recycling and reuse targets raised
  • Strict limits on exporting waste
  • Consume smarter and in moderation.
  • Companies should be stopped from throwing away edible food as waste
EPP
No Mention
  • Adapt consumption to the limits of the Planet
  • Promote local consumption and production based on these principles of reuse, recycle and repair to stop planned obsolescence business strategies
Europe must move to a circular model of production and consumption that respects our planet’s limits.

Global Problem

Leadership
Take global leadership in setting ambitious targets
Increase international climate funding
EPP
The EU should continue its leading role in combating climate change and global warming but also in coping with their effects
Member States need to become more active and involved at the international level and loudly advocate the principles of climate justice
Europe must be a leader in fighting for the environment and tackling climate change, particularly as some of our international partners are falling behind
Carbon Border Tax
No Mention
If key countries outside the EU refuse to limit emissions, border-tax adjustments may be introduced to ensure a level playing field for European workers and companies
EPP
No Mention
No Mention
No Mention

Divestment

Funding for fossil fuels
The EU's cohesion funds shall not support programmes or projects that counter the Paris Agreement or the EU's climate and energy objectives
Total divestment from fossil fuels
EPP
No Mention
End all direct and indirect subsidies to the fossil fuel industry
No Mention
Lobbying by fossil fuel industry
No Mention
We want a mandatory legislative footprint for EU laws, a binding lobby register for all EU institutions and to close the revolving doors between politics and big business by cooling-off phases
EPP
No Mention
Exclude the fossil fuel industry completely from all decision-making processes
No Mention

Carbon sinks & Carbon Dioxide Removal

Carbon sinks
No Mention
  • Restore natural carbon sinks in forests and soils
  • Clamp down on illegal logging and impose tougher sanctions
EPP
No Mention
Realise the potential of natural carbon sinks
No Mention
Carbon Dioxide Removal technology
No Mention
No Mention
EPP
We encourage new technology, research and innovation since they are key to sustainable development
Reject geoengineering and techno-fixes, such as carbon-capture and storage, which facilitate dirty industries
No Mention

Agriculture

CAP reform
Reform to promote alternative and environmentally friendly agricultural methods
  • Move from industrial agriculture and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to sustainable forms of farming, such as organic and agro-ecological solutions
  • Change policy to cut emissions, save bees, revitalise rural areas and keep our food safe
  • To protect farm land, we need to stop the urban sprawl urgently
  • Redirect agricultural subsidies to sustainable farming, based on fair and results-based conditions
  • Harmful pesticides such as glyphosate should be banned
EPP
Reformed to foster a sustainable model of farming, taking into account food scarcities as a consequence of population growth and climate change as well as the economic role of the countryside
  • rapidly shift to sustainable agriculture and fisheries, including shorter supply chains, full environmental compliance and food sovereignty
  • Move away from the current agro-industrial intensification model, including the patenting elements of life, towards ecological, sustainable farming and fishing practices and local, sustainable food systems that promote genetic diversity
  • End deep-sea bottom-trawling and other particularly destructive forms of industrial fishing and limit the impact of bottom-contact fisheries on eco-systems
Reform of the EU's agricultural policy should help meet new societal demands, including sustainable production methods, better nutrition, reduced food waste, better animal welfare, climate protection and the preservation of biodiversity

Edits

  • 2019-05-06 14:00: Corrected ‘Target reduction for 2030’ and position on emissions trading for GUE/GNL
  • 2019-05-06 14:07: Adding link to PBP policies and note regarding party manifestos
  • 2019-05-06 17:00: Added PES policies and section on agriculture after I was linked to the PES manifesto
  • 2019-05-06 21:40: Correctly placed PBP and the Socialist party into GUE/GNL.
  • 2019-05-07 10:35: Cleaned up intro to remove edit comments, moved disclosure below intro.
  • 2019-05-17 11:35: Added PES to image.
  • 2019-05-22 16:05: Added Social Democrats and Independents 4 Change.

Sources