The United Nations now promotes a full agenda for the greening of the world’s economies, side by side with the Sustainable Development Goals, while at the same time many governments around the globe seek to green their development pathways. Yet, the European Union seems to ignore the green signs of our times.
Since January 2012, when the first issue of CrisisWatch was published, WWF has consistently monitored the serious impacts caused on environment and society by Europe’s myopic response to the ongoing economic crisis. We have also had the privilege to report on promising developments, in the direction of more sustainable economic activity.
Deeply immersed in the dismal economic outlook and the humanitarian crisis sparked by the arrival of thousands of refugees seeking a safe life, Europe is losing speed in the race to the green champion’s podium. The pressures for environmental deregulation, both at the level of member states and in the broader EU context, seem to gain disproportionate weight as rapid growth at all costs is the dominant political mantra in these difficult times.
When politicians fail however, people have the power. The dynamic and loud public mobilisations in favour of a good climate deal in Paris, a resource-efficient economy and in defense of important environmental policies, such as the EU’s nature protection laws, have been remarkably effective.
The solution to the planet’s crisis and to all of Europe’s problems is political and needs to aim for a world of social and environmental justice, transparent policy-making and ecologically sustainable economies.