Tuesday, June 26, 2007

EU Commute Leaves Hefty Carbon Footprint

Each month, the 785 members of the European Parliament drag themselves, their luggage and all their important documents the 450 kilometers (280 miles) from Brussels to Strasbourg in order to hold a four-day session there.

This traveling band of politicians is accompanied by journalists, assistants, interpreters and lobbyists -- in total 3,000 people descend upon the French city during the parliamentary sessions. For the rest of the time the politicians are based in the Belgian capital, while the secretariat is situated in Luxembourg.
From Der Spiegel

The commute — by plane, train or automobile — continues even as EU leaders agree that the 27-nation bloc must take the lead in the fight against climate change. Road transport alone accounts for about one-fifth of the EU's carbon dioxide emissions. A study commissioned by the EU's Greens shows that the monthly trek produces over 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year, the equivalent of 13,000 return flights from London to New York.
From USA Today

MEP calls for end of 'travelling circus'

Gary Titley, Labour's Leader in Europe, said: "Strasbourg costs £200m a year and leaves a massive carbon footprint.
"The monthly move of the European Parliament from Brussels to Strasbourg is producing 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year, the equivalent to the greenhouse gases produced by 13,000 round-trip flights from London to New York.
"As long as we have to travel to Strasbourg, people will rightly say that the EU is wasting money - Strasbourg is a waste of taxpayers money.
"I hope that the results of this vote and the one million citizens signing the one seat.eu petition, will make the members of the European Council act."
From The Wigan Observer