Giuseppe Onufrio (Geopolitics and Climate Change)

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INTERVIEW WUTH Giuseppe Onufrio         
(Executive Director of Greenpeace Italia)

“GEOPOLITICS AND CLIMATE CHANGE”

Premise

Today, more than ever the struggle against Climate Change and, more in general, against the Ecological Crisis is experiencing a phase that is critical for its subsequent evolution. On the one hand, there is a growing global awareness of the deterioration of natural resources caused by humans (increasing number of ecological movements, intensity and frequency of international events on the topic, increasing investments in renewables etc ...). On the other hand, the global geopolitical scenario seems to row against this growing will that wants to support a sustainable economic and social system. Will the recent international agreements (Paris and Marrakech) bring a strong acceleration in the fight against Climate Change? How can Mr. Trump effectively damage the effectiveness of these agreements? What can other countries do? Giuseppe Onufrio, Executive Director of Greenpeace Italia answered to these and other questions.

 
  
http://www.greenpeace.org/italy/it/  

 

  
 
INTERVIEW - (May 2017)
This interview was made and published in May 2017  on www.lteconomy.org  

Subject: Geopolitics and Climate Change    

 
 

Highlights 

  • So, let’s face it… there is no lack of economic or technological resources for the fight against Climate Change… The very scarce resource for us is time! And Mr. Trump will make us lose precious time.
  • I believe that only a strong leadership of the European Union, in partnership with China and other emerging countries, can really rebalance the situation.
  • The election of Mr. Emmanuel Macron is a good event for various reasons, first because it confirms France's commitment to Climate Change and strengthens the European one. However, it is good but not the best! Greenpeace has expressed some reservations on Mr. Macron’s energy strategy…
  • Paradoxically, China is the Country that is accelerating more on the field of Climate Change, playing a very positive role after Mr. Donald Trump's election.

 

 
Question 1: Hello Giuseppe, thank you for being with us. The 47th anniversary of the “Earth Day” was just celebrated on 22nd April, and, the 22nd Conference of the Parties on Climate (COP 22) was held in Marrakech in November 2016 (after Paris COP 21 in 2015). Can we say there is a serious international struggle against Climate Change?
 
Answer
I am sorry, I think no! And this despite an updating of the volunteer commitment (INDCs) is scheduled in 2018. The fight against Climate Change requires a global commitment, especially on the part of the strongest and most impactful Countries (N.d.R., USA, China, EU). But it is now put in question by the election of Mr. Donald Trump as President of the USA. In fact, Mr. Trump has always had a negative attitude on the topic. At this very moment, while we are talking now, still another decision must be made.
 
 
Question 2: So political scenarios seem to play a very important role in the fight against Climate Change. You have already mentioned the election of Donald Trump. How can the new President of the United States affect the International Commitment to Climate Change? Is there any way out?
 
Answer
As I said, the election of Donald Trump may have a very negative effect on advancing the global commitment against Climate Change. However, there are some trends, some strong structural elements that cannot be affected by this event. One of these is the costs of clean and renewable technologies that are continuing to fall. Getting out of fossil fuels is something that is going ahead (though not with the pace needed). So, let’s face it… there is no lack of economic or technological resources for the fight against Climate Change… The very scarce resource for us is time! And Mr. Trump will make us lose precious time.
 
However, let me make a further remark: it is not just a question of time and Climate Change. The Paris Agreement is also important for “global peace:” technological and economic cooperation is crucial - albeit not enough alone - to strengthen peaceful relations between Countries. Now, if Trump breaks the £1,000bn agreement on clean technologies that Obama has made with China, it will be a very bad news for both the issues of Climate Change and peace. So what can be done against Mr. Trump’s policies? I believe that only a strong leadership of the European Union, in partnership with China and other emerging countries, can really rebalance the situation.
 
 
Question 3: More generally, what do you think about other countries’ attitude (Great Britain, France - in the light of the recent election of Emmanuel Macron President - Germany, Italy, Japan, China etc ...) towards Climate Change?
 
Answer
The election of Mr. Emmanuel Macron is a good event for various reasons, first because it confirms France's commitment to Climate Change and help strengthen the European one. However, it is a good but not the best event! Greenpeace has expressed some reservations on Mr. Macron’s energy strategy, which was proposed by the new France’s President during his electoral campaign, and which, in our opinion, is not strong enough. The European Union commitment is not strong enough too: the 2030 commitment to reduce emissions should go to -55% (compared to 1990) from the current -40% target; as for renewables, the 27% share target is not enough; it should be 45% to be up to the challenge.
 
 
Question 4: Which are the Countries that are currently implementing the most effective anti-Climate-Change strategies?
 
Answer
Paradoxically, China is the Country that is accelerating more on the field of Climate Change, playing a very positive role after Mr. Donald Trump's election. I believe that the Chinese commitment will foster electricity-based mobility, lowering the costs of the related technologies and making them more accessible globally. On this issue, some European Countries have moved on and are on the forefront. What about Italy? It is making no step forward, due to both the lack of commitment by Fiat-Chrysler and the lack of initiative by the government.
 
 
Question 5: You are the Executive Director of Greenpeace-Italy. Can you tell us what are the topics Greenpeace-Italy is focusing more and what are the main initiatives it has conducted in the most recent months?
 
Answer
Greenpeace is carrying on many campaigns. Among these: 1) the "Detox" campaign, fighting for the elimination of the use of chemicals in the textile industry and reporting the pollution of water in Veneto (N.d.R. - Italy’s region); 2) the renewable energy campaign; 3) the anti-pesticide campaign - glyphosate, on which a European petition is active - and the neonicotinoids, responsible for the death of bees and other pollinating insects; 4) a campaign on mobility and air quality in cities; 5) a campaign against plastic pollution in the sea; 6) and the campaign against the Deforestation, with reference to both the production of palm oil and the boreal forest attacked by the paper industry.
 
 
 
 

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