The climate crisis is here, and young people have the most to lose. Thousands of students around Europe are rising up, striking from school, demanding politicians take concrete action on climate change. Political inaction on climate change affects young people more than any other generation. Yet, they have the least amount of electoral power to have their say. A future with climate change will be inherited by the next generation. That's why it's time for countries in the European Union to lower their voting age to 16 and allow young people to have a political say now.
Politics needs a breath of fresh air. Our institutions have to cater and centre young people in the decision making process, especially on climate change. Young people of Europe want their voices heard. More than ever, they're joining non-government organisations, protests, petitions, social movements and engaging in direct action over formal political structures that do not include them. Austria and Malta have both lowered the voting age, and the European Parliament has endorsed this decision. Now, Member States around Europe should follow suit. It's time to lower the voting age to 16.
To the European Parliament,
As a constituent, I’m writing to urge you to vote for strong rules to end the secrecy on industry studies used to prove that pesticides are safe. As our elected representative in the European Parliament, you have a duty to protect our health, the food we eat, our plants and our environment from toxic pesticides.
Yet the decision-making process on pesticides continues to rely on unpublished studies commissioned and assessed by the pesticide producers. This is unacceptable and needs to change.
Your vote in the European Parliament on the 16th of January will be crucial to determine whether citizens can trust the European institution in the future, in particular, the European Food Safety Authority – EFSA.
As you are aware, the glyphosate case has highlighted the serious flaws in the way in which pesticides are approved. Back then, more than one million people, in the fastest ever European Citizens Initiative, raised their voice demanding the European Commission to protect people and the environment from toxic pesticides, by improving transparency in our food system and ensuring that all studies used to support the regulatory approval of pesticides are made public.
Therefore, I urge you to make sure that all industry studies are available to the public in their entirety and that those running the assessment of pesticides do not have any conflict of interest.
Millions of EU citizens are eagerly looking forward to your vote in favor of major changes to the system of pesticide approval. Our health, our food, our plants, and animals should precede the interests of secretive lobbies and private interests of multinationals.
The clock is ticking. Three years after the historic Paris Climate agreement it is clear we have to do more, much more, to halt climate change. But here is the good news: The solutions for a rapid shift to a Green economy are there. People across Europe, and across the world, are rising up to demand action. So now it’s a matter of political will. Now it’s time to deliver.
Science shows that Europe’s current targets of cutting emissions by 40% in 2030 do not go far enough to keep the world’s temperature below 1.5C. In fact, scientists have analysed that the temperature of our earth will rise to at least 3 degrees if Europe doesn’t increase it’s commitment. This is potentially disastrous, considering the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that stated that if the world’ temperature rises above 1.5C, the impacts of climate change on our planet would be irreversible. It’s time to demand more from our leaders. It’s time they deliver.
We demand EU leaders to commit to a 55% cut in emissions by 2030 to avoid the risk of climate change.
We demand our leaders to show their commitment to tackling climate change by taking bold action today.
Young people are finding it harder and harder to access the labour market after graduating. Far too many young people are caught up in unpaid jobs during the day but then, in order to support themselves, take up paid night time jobs in order to support themselves. Others are stuck in a vicious cycle of one unpaid internship after another as they find it impossible to find quality, paid work.
It's simple: Interns Work. Pay your Interns.
Since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, working for free has become increasingly common. In certain sectors, entry level positions have been replaced by unpaid internships. In others, unpaid interns are given little learning experience. This is not a coincidence. It is the results of employers taking advantage of the high youth unemployment rate in Europe and treating young people as cheap or unpaid labour force. Unpaid internships are an exploitative, unjust and discriminatory practice. We're calling on the EU to ban unpaid and low-quality internships at an EU wide level.
Unpaid internships perpetuate social inequality. Young people who do not have the privilege of financial security, parental support or cheap housing cannot take up unpaid internships, finding it even harder to enter the labour market.
Businesses, institutions, NGOs and all other employers should pay interns for their work. Young people deserve the ability to build a prosperous future for themselves. We need laws to make sure employers don't exploit their employees.
I demand that interns are adequately paid for their work. The EU must ban unpaid internships and improve the quality of internships at an EU wide level. That is only fair.
Unpaid internships are an exploitative, unjust and discriminatory practice. They perpetuate social inequalities among young people all over Europe. Young people deserve the ability to build a prosperous future for themselves. It starts with banning unpaid internships.
JOIN THE PETITION
A warning bell has been ringing: global warming needs to be limited to 1.5°C as soon as possible. Any additional warming, even by half a degree more, will further increase the threats of drought, floods, excessive heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people in Europe and worldwide. As you know, already several European regions are facing more and more extreme weather disasters, which are occurring with increasing frequency and intensity. Events such as the ones that took place in countries such as Italy, Portugal, and Greece are only examples of the urgent need to address this issue in order to prevent any further negative impact on the lives of European citizens. This is an unprecedented wake-up call that the EU Member States can no longer afford to ignore.
The CO2 emissions resulting from the use and the consumption of fossil fuels are still playing a significant role in global warming. Europe can and must do something to contribute to reverse this trend by adopting concrete measures leading to rapid and effective shifts in sectors such as energy, industry, and infrastructure.
Therefore, I call on the European Commission and the European Parliament to introduce an EU legislation that could strengthen and complement the current rules on climate and energy, with the aim of discouraging the use of fossil fuels in all sectors and stimulate the use of renewable sources and energy saving.
In particular, I urge you to:
- Introduce a minimum price on CO2 emissions that can range from €40 per tonne of CO2 produced by 2020 up to €100 by 2030.
- Abolish the current system of free allowances for polluters.
- Introduce a border adjustment mechanism for third countries imports to compensate for the lower price on CO2 emissions in the exporting country.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is being built in order to transport more gas from Russia to Europe through the Baltic Sea, fueling climate change, increasing Russian leverage vis-à-vis Ukraine and the EU and funding Putin’s regime for decades.
This is not what Europe needs. Members of parliament from across Europe have come together to make this message clear to Angela Merkel, who has the power to pull the plug from the pipeline.
We must not allow to let the rift between EU Member States to deepen at a time when the EU needs cohesion more than ever.
Join the letter and add your name!
Transport emissions are one of the biggest causes of climate change. Even though trucks make up less than 5% of vehicles on the road, they are currently responsible for about one quarter of all road transport CO2 emissions in the EU. Yet there are no CO2 rules on trucks. That's ridiculous.
In order to tackle climate change and meet our commitments under the Paris Agreement, CO2 emissions need to be restricted in our trucks. Furthermore, our lack of action on trucks come from corporate interests and manufacturing lobbyist trying to evade their environmental responsibility. Our politicians need to step up. CO2 needs to be restricted everywhere.
Demand the European Parliament to set ambitious target to reduce CO2 truck emissions in order to fight climate change!
The age of unlimited emissions of carbon dioxide should end. NGOs, and other transport stakeholders have called for ambitious emission reduction targets. Our transport sector needs to be less carbon-intensive. We did it with cars, let's do it with trucks. That's why we're calling on the European Parliament to make CO2 restrictions on trucks stronger.
Dear Prime, Minister Boyko Borissov
Dear Minister of Energy, Asen Vasilev
I’m writing to you to express my deep concerns about the decision of our government to scrap the 2012 suspension on the construction of Belene Power Plant project. As you know, the suspension on the construction of the nuclear power plant of Belene was adopted by the Bulgarian government and the National Assembly due to concerns about the high seismic risk at the site where Belene is located.
The decision to reopen the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant would represent an unacceptable nuclear hazard and a significant risk to the lives of not only Bulgarian citizens, but also of all European citizens and neighboring countries. A potential accident at the Belene nuclear power plant, such as a destructive earthquake, would have huge environmental, health and economic consequences for Bulgaria and the EU Member States.
Recently the European Commission has stated that the Belene power plant project has to be considered as a new project, rather than a continuation of an already existing project. This means that the Bulgarian government will have now to follow the correct procedures, in line with EU regulation for the building of this plant, and re-submit the notification for the construction of Belene Nuclear Plant.
By deciding to suspend the 2012 decision on the construction of Belene Power Plant project, you are forgetting the 120 victims who died in 1977 Vrancea earthquake. That day, less than 10 kilometers away from the site where Belene nuclear power plant is set to be built, the earthquake killed many loved ones and decimated one-third of the buildings in the nearby town of Svishtov. What do you think would happen if there was also a Nuclear Power Plant in the middle of it all? Nuclear power plant and its disasters know no border and its consequences concerns all of us.
I would also like to remind you that nuclear energy has become less and less economically viable in the energy sector. Nuclear power plants are becoming more expensive and more dangerous for public health and the environment. The future of the energy lies in the renewable energy that has become much more dominant and long-term providers for energy production.
Therefore, I call on you to abandon the Belene Nuclear power plant project as it poses huge environmental, health and economic risks to the Bulgarian citizens and the EU Member States.
To Members of the European Parliament
I am deeply concerned about the lack of regulation on CRISPR-CAS9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) gene drives and the ecological, cultural and societal threats they pose.
Gene drives are a controversial new genetic manipulation technology that threatens the balance of our delicate ecosystems. It allows scientists to modify, delete or insert DNA into organisms that ensures the human made mutations are inherited to all its offspring. This mutation eventually spreads throughout the population with every generation of new offspring.
In theory, scientists argue that they could create populations of malaria-resistant parasites. In practice, without careful consideration, unleashing mutated species modified by gene drive technology could devastate entire ecosystems. The risks of these GMOs breeding with local wild or cultivated population creates biosecurity risks that are contrary to aims laid down by Convention on Biological Diversity. We’ve seen this before with invasive species killing off local wildlife. With gene drives, we could speed up that invasive process.
There is a severe lack of knowledge, data or understanding on the potential impact of gene drives on biological diversity. What’s worse is that big agricultural lobbyist and corporations have begun to appropriate and test this technology for commercial gain, whilst the US Defence Advanced Research have been considering to use it for bioweaponary. In the wrong hands, our biosecurity and food security would be under threat. That’s why we call on the European Parliament to call for an international moratorium on gene drives.
Over 160 civil society organizations from six continents have joined the call already: we don't want gene drives. We’ve seen plenty of rushed scientific experiments creating more ecological problems. Look to the GMO created superweeds in America immune to pesticides reeking havoc in local fields. Therefore, I call on the the European Parliament to promote an international moratorium on the release in the environment of organisms modified by gene drive technology.