Environmentalists give Prodi and Clinton ‘E for effort’ at Lisbon Summit

An alliance of EU and US environmental groups marked this week's EU-US Summit in Lisbon by presenting US President Clinton and EC President Roman Prodi with an environmental 'scorecard' which gave the US and European Member States poor marks in many of their efforts to address environment and trade policy issues.

The environmental representatives also sent clear messages to the heads-of-state on biotechnology, climate, forests, agriculture and other issues.

Lone Johnsen, President of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and Chris Fisher, with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and the Eurogroup for Animal Welfare, represented the Transatlantic Environment Dialogue (TAED), a coalition of US and European environmental organisations, at the meeting.

The TAED, established in May 1999, brings together environmental citizens’ organizations from the EU and the US to promote environmental protection and integration of environmental concerns into all aspects of EU and US relations. The environmental representatives were joined in the Summit meeting by business advocates, marking the first time that environmental citizen groups and business leaders have attended the biannual transatlantic summits together.

“The ‘scorecard’ evaluates government performance on integrating fundamental environmental principles into international economic policies,” explained Fisher. “The scorecard is similar to one developed by the Transatlantic Business Dialogue, but on our issues, the governments’ progress on meeting our policy recommendations is completely inadequate.”

“Since the creation of the TAED, we have been meeting with government officials and presenting common-sense policy recommendations to them. We hope the governments will begin to take our issues as seriously as they do the recommendations of the business dialogue, so that we can work together to build a more sustainable future,” said Johnsen.

In addition to presenting the scorecard to Clinton, Prodi and Portuguese Prime-Minister Guterres, Johnsen and Fisher urged the heads-of-state to:

  • set a firm limit on emissions to ensure that liberalisation of the electricity market does not lead to an increase in greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions and air pollution (see related story)
  • be cautious when developing forestry projects in developing countries under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development mechanism (see related story) , as many of these projects are likely to be largescale industrial plantations with non-native species, which can have adverse effects on native forest biodiversity and local peoples
  • refrain from mounting trade-based challenges to each other’s national environment, health and animal protection laws until substantial reform of the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement system is undertaken (see related story)
  • institute a ceasefire to the transatlantic war of words over ‘multifunctional agriculture’ (see related story), and focus instead on ensuring that agriculture respects the environment and animal welfare and supports rural communities with small scale family farms
  • adopt a proactive and systematic approach towards integrating the precautionary principle into transatlantic policy-making (see related story)

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