More political courage deemed necessary

Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Européennes Robert Schuman

Jean-Marie Majerus
In general, the Luxembourgish population is very sensible concerning the climate change topic. Several environment protection associations, such as Mouvement écologique, Greenpeace Luxembourg, and other pro-ecology organisations, have united their efforts with 30 other NGOs, such as Caritas, Action-solidarité-Tiers-monde, among others, to act together against climate change[1] and create a Luxembourgish pro-climate lobby called “Votum Klima.” Leaders of this pro-climate alliance talked to Prime Minister Juncker and the Ministers for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure Wiseler and Schank. Votum Klima cannot accept the Copenhagen conference results.[2] The reduction of CO2 emissions plan endorsed by the EU and the USA is totally insufficient. Votum Klima criticised Juncker and the other European political leaders for their lack of perseverance and political courage. Prime Minister Juncker acknowledges the criticism by the environment lobby and declared that he would like the EU to stick to its original 30 percent CO2 reduction goal. Nevertheless, he is well aware that this aim will be very difficult to reach, as a lot of partners only want to commit themselves if all the others do the same.
Green and ecological activists ask the government to make sure that the European Union is seen as a model and must not wait until other continents and economic powers follow up with their decisions on CO2 reduction. Business and industrialist federations agree that the EU and the national governments should act in climate change affairs but they nevertheless warn the Luxembourgish government in particular and the EU in general not to take unilateral measures which could harm the competitiveness of the national and European economy.[3]
Most mainstream political leaders publicly support a global agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as the best strategy to fight climate change. The Green Party and other ecological activists would prefer an even tougher approach and denounce the agreement as being too soft or even meaningless to really prevent climate change.
Francis Massen, founder of a meteorological control centre in northern Luxembourg, favours an alternative strategy for the European Union. He believes that the agreement by the UNFCCC was based on horror scenarios promoted by certain scientific, political and environmentalist action groups, which have special interests in the implementation of this agreement. Francis Massen and his followers think that the real problem waiting to be solved concerns the differentiation of energy resources rather than the definition of a new climate change policy. Massen wants to promote an intelligent mix of all possible energy resources, including nuclear power.[4]
The Luxembourgish socialist Member of European Parliament Robert Goebbels gives succour to Massen and denounces “Climatism” as a new religion and a new kind of “green capitalism” based on a profitable CO2 certificates’ trade.[5]
Luxembourg can claim the honour to figure on the top of the list of countries which spend the most money on non-military cooperation and development projects per capita of their gross national income.[6]
The Luxembourg cooperation policy’s paramount goal is the eradication of poverty through sustainable development. What are the effects of climate change on developing countries’ populations? UN millennium objectives determine the strategy of the Luxembourg development policy. Luxembourg’s cooperation objectives are therefore twofold: sustainable development and reduction of the impoverishment of biological biodiversity. Other aims are production of clean water, improving living conditions and so on.[7]

[1] Greenpeace-Luxembourg: Votum Klima Luxembourg, 2010, available at: (last access 14 July 2010).

[2] Richard Graf: Hausaufgabenhilfe, Woxx, 29 January 2010.

[3] Echo des entreprises: Coût et opportunités, 2/2010.

[4] Énergie – Environnement Le changement climatique, un problème réel ou hystérie des cercles scientifiques et politiques, available at: (last access: 19 July 2010); Albert Haas: Der erlogene Klima-Konsens, Tageblatt, 4 January 2010.

[5] Robert Goebbels: Zum Klimatismus, Tageblatt, 24 February 2010.

[6] Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD): Les performances inégales de l’aide au développement pour 2010 suscitent des inquiétudes, 17 February 2010, available at:,3343,fr_2649_34447_44620069_1_1_1_37413,00.html (last access: 22 June 2010). Some countries will even go beyond this goal: Sweden has a ratio of net Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Gross National Income (GNI) 1.03 the highest in the world just before Luxembourg which has a ratio ODA/GNI of 1.00.

[7] Ministère des Affaires Étrangères, Direction de la coopération au développement: Environnement et changement climatique – stratégie et orientations 2009-2010.

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