New Europe: How did you enjoy your time in Durban?
Oreste Rossi: At first it was an important experience, because you could meet many delegations that you would hardly ever meet in other . We met, for example, the Chinese parliamentary delegation, the Pan African delegation as well as the French and European agencies' delegates; it was extremely interesting.
And the absence of a notable end result?
On the other hand, from a citizen's (and politician's) point of view during the crisis, it was crazy to spend more than €200 million on an event that didn’t bring any tangible results. We don’t have a binding document followin g the summit, but only a simple declaration on what 'should' be done – a fund of €100 billion per year should be going to developing countries to help in the battle against climate change.
On this subject, I do not think that China should be considered as an 'emerging' economy – it should be remembered that China is the world's biggest polluter and has an energy production system with 80% based on carbon and 20% on other sources. The country has no intention of changing its system, unless it is with the money of this ad hoc fund, which will be paid for by us. China will then be buying the debt of US and certain EU countries, and it is also buying commercial activities all around the world, so for this reason they should not be considered as a “poor” economy and thus entitled to have access to this 'mega-fund', which will in fact be financed with money from the payment of DS quotas from EU industries. In Europe now, there is a crisis, but we have China conducting unfair competition – in this situation, we should say to our entrepreneurs not only to cut emissions with binding targets that are stricter than the Kyoto targets, but also that when CO2 quotas are taken, they should be paid for on the DS quotas stock exchange. After all, financing your competitors seems more than a little crazy to me!
So, what would your solution be?
I would provide an alternative at European level to fight climate change: all goods coming from countries that are not combating climate change as we are should be taxed more heavily to compensate – with the money raised, I would finance European industry to reach European environmental goals. If a factory closes in Europe, we will suffer not only the loss of jobs but there will also be a new factory opening in China, Korea or Vietnam that will not follow the strict European environmental targets and, consequently, will create more global ill effects.
The non-binding document brought by the European Parliament's Environment Committee to Durban was not even considered, and our parliamentary delegation could not even take part in the plenary session's decision-making process. At the end of the day, we were there only to follow side meetings and the fact that the European delegation (Parliament and Commission) was hosted in the garages of the Hilton Hotel in Durban shows how little esteem we were accorded.
In conclusion, reflect on the fact that Canada has withdrawn not only from a future 'Kyoto 2' treaty but also the first Kyoto – where then are we likely to find €100bn per year during the present economic crisis? For this reason, we voted against the environment dossier, both during the committee vote and in plenary – in truth, the conference was populated only with secondary figures, and the only result was a final non-binding document that was approved very late and which has no legal value.