CAN Europe urges EU climate strategy to prioritise lifestyle change and support for community engagement

(12 June 2018) – Europe’s largest coalition working on climate and energy issues, CAN Europe, of which ECOLISE is a member, is calling for lifestyle changes and support for citizen and community engagement to be key priorities for the new EU long term climate strategy.

Reflecting the input of ECOLISE, CAN Europe’s briefing entitled ‘Delivering Paris – CAN Europe key priorities for the new EU long term climate strategy’, details how the strategy must tackle lifestyle changes and support communities:

The strategy should tackle lifestyle changes
The transformational change needed to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C can not only be based on technological innovation. It will need to include lifestyle changes, in particular in a number of sectors where full decarbonisation is challenging. Such lifestyle changes would include tackling energy overconsumption, mobility patterns, meat-based diets, etc. The EU needs to become more proactive in enabling lifestyle changes.
Grassroots community-ledinitiatives across Europe are already demonstrating successfulapproaches to engaging citizens and changing lifestyles. The new EU long term strategy should take note of such initiatives and include a vision on how to reduce overconsumption and production and how to promote more equitable and sustainable lifestyles.
In addition, the strategy should include the (positive) changes to the system brought by lifestyle changes, for example positive land use changes due to changes from meat-based diets to more vegetarian based diets.
The strategy must support citizen and community engagement
The engagement of citizens and local communities is essential to achieving longer term climate and sustainability goals and to bringing about a successful transition to a low carbon society. Achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement including the 1.5°C objective requires citizen action at policy, cultural, social, economic and environmental levels.
Thousands of grassroots initiatives have emerged across the EU in recent years as citizen and communities increasingly opt to be part of the solution rather than the problem. These communities are playing a critical role in driving local transition processes, transforming local economies and also helping to bring about a shift in lifestyles. However, such initiatives are largely disconnected from government initiatives and lack the recognition and support needed to facilitate wider replication.
The EU’s long term strategy provides a unique opportunity to champion the role of grassroots, bottom-up initiatives and support a just, citizen-led transition.
The full briefing can be seen here.