Former European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, has called for urgent action to address a “climate emergency” while admitting that the new EU leadership is taking the issue “more seriously”. Speaking exclusively to The Parliament magazine, he said recent emergencies like the Amazon forest fires and floods in Europe illustrated that the climate change had moved beyond a crisis to an emergency. Condemning political leaders, including President Trump, for “denying what science is telling us about climate change,” his administration’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement was a “high risk” move.
László Andor who served as a commissioner in José Manuel Barroso’s second commission is now secretary-general of FEPS, the Foundation for European Policy Studies, a think-tank associated with the Party of European Socialists. FEPS is organizing a conference on “climate justice” today (20 September) on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly in New York. “That the climate emergency is happening now and must be urgently addressed,” is the main message that Andor, former Irish president Mary Robinson, former UK Labour party leader Ed Miliband and other high-profile speakers want to deliver to the global audience.
Speaking earlier in the week, just ahead of the FEPS conference, Andor also stressed that he “fully supports” a “global climate strike”, scheduled for this Friday to coincide with the UN meeting. “We face a climate emergency but not everyone is taking this as seriously as they should. Some, such as President Trump, still seem to be in denial despite what science is telling us about the climate.” This attitude, according to Andor, was in stark contrast to the European Union that has “shown leadership” on the climate issue, which has been “reinforced” by the incoming new commission, led by Ursula von der Leyen.