Public policy backed by public investment and quality public services are the tools to achieve the long-term goal of preventing climate chaos and delivering on just transition. With many sectors, regions, workers and people impacted by measures that seek to reduce emissions, it should be recognized that markets do not deliver the needed transformation. Public subsidies should not flow to companies that then make windfall profits, offer poor quality jobs and engaged in tax avoidance. This was the message of the EPSU General Secretary to EU Commissioner Šefčovič during an exchange on the long-term strategy of the EU to reduce CO2 emissions. We do not want groups of workers and communities left behind during this process. All social partners agreed and urged the European Commission to address this. The social partners should be consulted on the development of the National Energy and Climate action plans. That is not yet happening.
The EPSU General Secretary referred further to the importance of addressing energy poverty. An holistic approach is needed with investment in energy efficiency and improving social protection systems. For Member States that believe regulated prices are the best way to protect domestic households from the vagaries and volatility of the market for electricity, this should be allowed in the Electricity Market Design Directive. Markets do not deliver a reduction of energy poverty, nor the scale of the investment needed in renewable energy sources to turn the situation around. EPSU is part of the Right to Energy Coalition that seeks a European frame and measures with national action plans to reduce energy poverty.
The EPSU representative was part of the ETUC delegation that included its confederal secretary Montse Mir. Other union colleagues came from ETF and IndustriAll-Europe. The employers were represented by BusinessEurope, CEEP and UEAPME.
The meeting took place 22 November 2018, Brussels. It is expected that the Commission will publish its long-term strategy 28 November.
- For a leaked version of the EU Commission Long-term strategy
- For a recent position of the ETUC
- For the work of EPSU on the adaptation strategy of the Commission
- For an interesting paper of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) on how public investment and more democratic control of the energy sector could deliver just transition.
- Other papers are available here
- Europe’s largest employers organization BusinessEurope has a massive credibility problem when arguing they are sincere about addressing climate change
- The distributional effects of policies to address climate change were recently explored by the Bruegel think tank. Note: We do not necessarily agree on all the policies measures that are proposed.