A Europe-wide climate campaign was launched today (Wednesday 27 February) by Friends of the Earth Europe and Thom Yorke. The Big Ask Europe aims to get governments and the European Union to commit to annual cuts in carbon dioxide emissions.
Thom Yorke launched the European campaign in Brussels where he presented a symbol of The Big Ask to the European Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas.
Yorke said in a press release:
“We will never wake from the nightmare of climate change unless our national governments and the European Union act. They are the only ones who can put the structures in place that will help us tackle climate change. That is why we are launching The Big Ask in seventeen countries across Europe. By committing to annual cuts in our emissions at a national and European level we can play our part in tackling climate change, and set an example for the rest of world to follow. Hundreds of thousands of people want to see their governments doing more about climate change. If you are one of them you can find out more about The Big Ask campaign in your country at www.thebigask.eu.”
The Big Ask Europe brings together Friends of the Earth groups from 17 European countries each of which is asking its government to commit to legally binding annual emissions cuts. Together they are asking the European Union to force all member states to cut their emissions year-on-year through a strong compliance system.
Thom Yorke has been a key advocate for The Big Ask in the UK which he launched in May 2005. The campaign has successfully persuaded the UK Government to introduce a ground-breaking Climate Change Law. The UK law, which is currently being debated in the House of Lords and should be introduced in the summer, will make the UK the first country in the world to set legally binding targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions. Friends of the Earth is campaigning for the law to be strengthened so that it covers all emissions, including the UK’s share of emissions from international aviation and shipping. Thom Yorke is now bringing the campaign to the rest of Europe. Around Europe people are being asked to send a message to their politicians. Individuals can find out more about their national campaign at the Big Ask website.
Countries across the continent have been marking the start of the European campaign. In Finland campaigners held snowman rallies in 22 towns and cities while in the Netherlands activists built a dyke in front of the parliament building and invited politicians and celebrities to fill the gaps with sand-bags.
The Big Ask calls on the European Union to commit to at least 30 per cent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions within Europe by 2020 and 90 per cent by 2050. Friends of the Earth Europe has criticised the European Union’s recent proposal to cut emissions by only 20 per cent by 2020 and for giving no guarantee that these targets will be met.