European Parliament to become first carbon neutral EU institution
The European Parliament will become the first EU institution to be 100% carbon neutral as of 2016, thanks to a carbon offsetting programme.
The Parliament’s Bureau – made up of the president, vice-presidents and quaestors – this week announced €250,000 funding for the offset scheme for the Parliament's “irreducible carbon emissions”, including those from MEPs’ flights to and from Brussels and Strasbourg.
The Parliament said it will also continue to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and make better use of energy, water and paper, in line with its environmental policy to first and foremost prevent or limit emissions.
European Parliament vice-president Ulrike Lunacek said: "With this step towards 100% carbon neutrality the European Parliament will play its part in limiting the impacts of climate change. Some weeks ahead of COP21 in Paris this is a great signal from inside the European Institutions showing that we are willing to live up to our goals.
“The EU will have to seriously raise its ambition if it is to play a positive role in making COP21 a success. In this way, Parliament is setting a good example in promoting best practice.
“But we will do more: in order to progress towards reaching our environmental targets Parliament will further improve the implementation of its environmental practices throughout the Parliament in key areas, such as water, paper and electricity consumption, waste recycling and awareness-raising.”
How it works
CO2 offsetting entails buying carbon offsets to compensate for the buyer’s own CO2 emissions. Such offsets are typically achieved by providing financial support for renewable energy or efficient energy projects, which aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a global context.
The Bureau said it will prioritise schemes in the Caribbean, Pacific and Africa.
The European Parliament has already achieved an emissions reduction of 27.2 % since 2006, en route to a 2020 target of a 30% reduction by 2030.