27 May, 2023

Liberal green deal: leaders discuss climate change & food security at Congress

One of the high-level panel debates at the ALDE Party Congress in Stockholm focused on the impact the war in Ukraine has had on Europe’s green transition. Beyond increased energy prices and cost-of-living, the war has disrupted food and fertiliser markets and agricultural production. Moreover, the effects of climate change have been exacerbated due to increased greenhouse gas emissions from the destruction of forests and military operations. These challenges demand liberal policy answers. 

Romina Pormoukhtari, Minister of Climate and Environment (Liberalerna, Sweden), opened the conversation by underlining the urgency of the situation: "We call it a climate crisis, and it is a crisis. But that word can't paralyse us. Instead, it must lead us to urgently act. [...] But when people talk about the climate, they talk about the future. They talk about it as if it's something happening somewhere else in another time. [...] But climate crisis is now."

"The EU Green Deal has outlined clear goals to be achieved. However, they must be followed by equally ambitious policy instruments. The challenge is to convert the regulatory framework into market mechanisms that will auto-steer all economic sectors towards a truly fossil-free, nature-positive and circular economy," she added.

"The horrible aggression in Europe, Russia's aggression against Ukraine, is not the reason to stop the green transition," Antti Kurvinen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry (Keskusta, Finland) said.

"If we are dependent on oil and coal coming from other parts of the globe, maybe coming from countries that are ruled by authoritarian rule, then we are dependent on those countries," he added.

Hakima El Haite, President of Liberal International and Former Minister of Environment (PM, Morocco) provided a global outlook to the conversation: "The consequences of this war are transcending the borders of Ukraine, causing energy insecurity in Europe, inflation worldwide, food insecurity in Africa and disturbing the multilateral agenda."

"The biggest war and challenge that the humanity is facing is climate change. [...] The West is already paying the bill of the climate disaster. But if the West has the financial capacity to pay this bill, the Global South hasn't," she said.

"Europe is on fire. We're seeing that through extreme weather events and across a whole range of policy areas. What we are keen to do from the Irish perspective is trying to seize the positive opportunity to build a new economy around taking the appropriate action on climate change," Jack Chambers, Minister of State Transport, Environment, Climate and Communications (Fianna Fáil, Ireland) noted.

"There is one, particular, the most effective, immediate thing that can be done for the climate change: to help Ukraine win the war. There is nothing else that would have such immediate effect," Kira Rudik MP, ALDE Party Vice-President and party leader (Golos, Ukraine) underlined.

"Pollution doesn't care about borders or about passports. [...] When we are talking about the climate, every single day there are changes that are irreversible and they are happening. We all need to work very hard not to help Ukraine win some day but to help us win tomorrow," Rudik said.

The panel was moderated by Jan Huitema MEP. 

In case you missed the debate, you can rewatch it on our Youtube channel. 

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