Published: Tue, 24 November 2015
As a member of the European Parliament’s delegation for COP21, I begin by lending my support for the Commissioner’s strong reiteration of the need for ambition in Paris and his calls for the EU to maintain its leadership in climate action before and after Paris.
This is important; the agreement that is reached should enable and facilitate all Parties to pursue low-carbon, climate resilient sustainable development, and should maximise participation by all parties.
The key to all of this is an ambitious binding global agreement. EU climate action should go hand in hand with maintaining competitiveness and for this we should demand nothing less than a binding global agreement.
While the EU should lead the way, we must ensure that the other big emitters show the same level of ambition. Without a global and binding agreement, we in Europe risk losing key sectors to other parts of the world while failing in our ultimate goal to meet the 2oC objective.
It would be extremely short-sighted of us to allow a situation to occur in which efficient and sustainable processes in Europe are lost through carbon leakage to other less efficient production systems and in fact lead to increased levels of emissions globally. It is important to recognise that this would be moving in the opposite direction – even those with the most ambitious ideas must see this.
On the topic of competitiveness, I must say I strongly welcome the updated and focused list of Projects of Common Interest that are aligned to the core objectives of the Energy Union. Creating a more secure supply of energy is crucial and as Commissioner Sefcovic mentioned, the diversification of sources will play a key role here.
Increasing supply options by investing more in our LNG import capacity will greatly contribute to our security of supply and there is one project in particular on the list that has significant potential in this regard.
Shannon LNG in the south of Ireland is a project that has faced difficulties since it went about establishing an LNG terminal at the mouth of the River Shannon now many years ago. However our work on this Energy Union and indeed our upcoming work on the LNG strategy brings the importance of the project from a European added benefit perspective to the fore once more and now, following a long campaign, we can see light at the end of the tunnel.
As we await the first LNG exports from the US, Shannon LNG would be the first port of call for these imports in Europe. It is located on a key strategic point for Europe and will bring significant benefits in ensuring a secure and reliable sources of gas, lowering our gas bills in the process as the Lithuanian example shows.
Natural gas also has a key role to play in the transition to a low carbon economy by offering stability to the intermittent types of renewable energy installations, this is a key point that should be made more often.
Having been a strong supporter of this project long before the first steps were made towards this Energy Union, I am pleased that this project is being recognised at EU level as a crucial part of our Energy Security strategy.
It brings significant economic benefits to the local area, to Ireland and to Europe, and I hope that it will now receive the support that ensures it is built.