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Pascal Canfin: “The gas price cap proposed by the Commission is cosmetic”

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Climate issues have largely occupied the international scene in recent weeks, between COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh and the G20 summit in Bali. Pascal Canfin, French MEP from the Renew Europe group and President of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee of the European Parliament, discusses these subjects. He salutes Europe’s efforts in its desire for independence from Russian gas, but regrets the Commission’s capping of “cosmetic” prices.

Europe said it was “disappointed” by the agreements signed at the end of COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh. But Pascal Canfin admits that he “didn’t expect much” and stresses that “the strong tensions between the United States and China make any agreement very complicated”, especially since the principle of unanimity reigns within this annual UN meeting. However, he wishes to welcome the creation of a “loss and damage fund” for the most vulnerable countries, in addition to the 100 billion per year already promised. “And we are almost at 100 billion with 3 years of delay”, he specifies. “Europe played well” to impose this new fund, insisting on the fact that “it is not always us, the Europeans, the Americans and the Japanese, who are going to pay. The Chinese must also pay” because , he recalls, “China is now by far the largest emitter of CO2 in the world.”

And “China, like the United States, India, Russia or Brazil, has not made any new commitments”, he regrets. Unlike Europe, which is “one of the few” to have done so by increasing its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets from 55% to 57% by 2030. “You will tell me it’s insignificant, but this 2% is the equivalent of all the emissions per year of a country like Austria or Portugal”, he insists.

>> To read also: COP27 – a “schizophrenic” agreement between climate justice and status quo on GHG emissions

But for Pascal Canfin, not everything happens at the COP, when it comes to measures in the fight to preserve the climate. There is in particular theGreen Deal European, with “the obligation, for car manufacturers selling in Europe, to sell only 100% zero-emission vehicles in 2035, in a mandatory and binding manner”, but also bilateral agreements such as the one signed between the countries rich – including Europe – and Indonesia, on the sidelines of the G20 in Bali, to “accompany towards the exit of coal” this country 3ᵉ producer in the world because, “we know, coal is the worst energy in terms of global warming.

Europe is gradually emerging from its dependence on Russian gas, against a backdrop of sharp increases in energy prices and fears of shortages: “even if we are now almost completely independent of Russian gas, throughout 2022 we have continued to use this gas to fill our stocks (…) so we should get through the winter without too much difficulty”. He specifies however: “provided that we save energy”, because “we will come out of winter with gas reserves close to zero, and we will no longer have Russian gas, of course, for reload them”, he nuances.

>> To read also: End of Russian gas – hydrogen and blue ammonia as a luxury alternative?

But he is less optimistic about energy prices. Despite the establishment by the European Commission of a cap on gas prices at 275 euros per megawatt hour for long-term contracts, this is largely insufficient, according to Pascal Canfin who considers this measure “cosmetic”. According to him, the solution lies in accelerating “renewables, energy efficiency, sobriety, and making contracts with alternative suppliers”, even if he regrets having to “unfortunately look for gas (of shale, Editor’s note) in the United States”. And this is why he asks to “ensure that the new contracts which are signed with Algeria, with Qatar, with the United States, are compatible with the Green Deal“.

On September 30, 2022, the Ministers of Energy of the 27 signed an agreement on the taxation of the superprofits of companies in the fossil fuel and energy sectors. Mandated at national level by the Renaissance party to reflect on the sharing of value, Pascal Canfin has made a proposal to the French government which consists in paying a “super-bonus” to the employees of these companies which make superprofits, in the same how shareholders receive super dividends. This proposal is now in the hands of the government but “not in the 2023 finance bill”, regrets Pascal Canfin, who “would have preferred it to be.”

Program, prepared by Isabelle Romero, Sophie Samaille and Perrine Desplats

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France 24 Europe Fr Trans

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