The European New Green Deal should move away from market-based solutions!

energy transition

(Press Release, 11 December 2019) The European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) welcomes the draft Green New Deal of the European Commission as a holistic approach to combat climate change. However, any new plan – as ambitious as it may be – must be accompanied by a Just Transition Strategy for workers and local communities, and a stronger role for public authorities and public services.

If Europe is to cut emissions by 55% by 2030 and become climate neutral by 2050, radical changes need to be made to the very way we approach climate change. Privatisation and profit maximisation do not, and cannot go hand in hand with climate mitigation and adaptation. Market based solutions (such as the ETS mechanism), are not enough to confront the combined impact of the climate emergency, which is ecological, political, societal and economic.

To address the climate emergency at the level which is so urgently needed, EPSU calls upon the European institutions to include the following in the European Green Deal:

  1. A significant increase in public investment: Central and public investment banks, as well as public procurement procedures, should steer the energy transition. If public bodies are financing the transition, then the public should benefit from it through strong public services. It is time to do away with public-private partnerships and models based on excessive corporate greed;
  2. The promotion of public ownership of utilities: Public authorities are best positioned to deliver the far reaching reforms needed to ensure a socially just transition towards a green economy;
  3. An ambitious Just Transition strategy for workers and local communities: Well-financed social security systems  as well as strong public services will be key to addressing the negative impacts climate change policies could have on the workforce, our families and our communities. Detailed policy planning to anticipate and mitigate social disruption for workers must be at the core of the Green Deal; and
  4. Access to water and energy are rights! The European Commission must ensure universal and affordable access to basic services and common goods. The right to water and Energy must be formally recognised in EU legislation. Water and energy cuts must be prohibited.

EPSU is the European voice of public service workers, including those in the energy, water and waste sectors. In light of the European Green Deal and the European Commission’s commitment to a Just Transition, EPSU recently published a report on Going Public: A Decarbonised, Affordable and Democratic Energy System for Europe, which outlines the failures of energy liberalisation, and proposes alternative models for the energy transition.

For more information contact 0032 (0) 474626633 Pablo Sanchez psanchez@epsu.org