Frans Timmermans: “I say to young people mobilized for the climate: ‘Keep going!’ “

Executive Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Green Deal, the Dutchman Frans Timmermans is in Glasgow to negotiate and try to impose the vision of the Union on the 26e climate conference (COP26). He commented on the progress of the conference and outlined his vision.

Should we believe in a tangible result of COP26?

The statements of certain heads of state surprised me positively and this is undoubtedly due to the alarmist tone of the last report of the IPCC [Groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du climat], as in the climatic tragedies that have recently occurred in a series of countries. The consequences of warming have become undeniable and everything must therefore be done to avoid going beyond a warming of 1.5 ° C. And stay on top of the Paris conference.

How to achieve this in the absence of the leaders of Russia and China?

China has a historic responsibility and we have seen that it played an essential role in Paris. She sent a good-level delegation to Glasgow and, although Beijing has yet to make concrete commitments, I believe that country remains open to dialogue, and on the right track.

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“It’s midnight – 1,” Boris Johnson said. Glasgow, is this the last chance?

I understand the rhetoric, but I don’t believe in such words. A total failure would obviously make it difficult to save the Paris conference, but not filling in all the gaps this time around would not mean the end of the world. There will be a post-Glasgow period and we will have to continue, especially if we do not obtain all the desired results. In this case, we will have to redouble our efforts …

Young people, including Greta Thunberg, say they have no illusions about the results of the discussions. What do you say to them?

I would say to Greta, who is an ally: “So listen to what the current leaders are saying and agree that it is much better than before. “And then I would say to the young people:” Keep going! Because it is thanks to you that the European Green Deal was born. Your dissatisfaction helps us stimulate other world leaders. “

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Your project and its twelve proposals adopted in July aim to make Europe a world leader, but are you quite sure that all 27 will comply with the requirements of your pact and, for example, reduce by 55% emissions by 2030?

I am not denying the difficulties, but all the member states have adopted the climate law and its obligations. We cannot deviate from this goal, but if we are offered national alternatives, we will examine them. I believe, however, that a balance has been struck between economic interests and ending carbon dependency.

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Frans Timmermans: “I say to young people mobilized for the climate: ‘Keep going!’ ”