Bas Eickhout is a Member of the European Parliament for the European Greens. He is a member of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. Eickhout studied chemistry and environmental science and has worked as a researcher at the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment.
Q. What did you think of the Paris agreement on climate change?
A. It was a historical moment. 195 countries have agreed to an ambitious accord on implementing climate policies. That is truly unique. It is not yet sufficient to prevent the dangers of climate change, but is a very good start. It can pose as a foundation, upon which we can build on in future cycles of five years.
Q. Do you believe the EU is prioritizing climate change enough?
A. Not at all. Exemplary for this is the fact that the EU ETS, the cornerstone of the European climate policy is not functioning well. I believe we have a lot to gain on this topic.
Q. What can the EU do to make sure other parts of the world work as hard as its members states?
A. Are member states truly doing so much? Is the rest of the world really not working hard on this topic? I think that image is not in accordance with the truth anymore. Many people are very dedicated to keep that frame up. Unfortunately the EU is taking comparable measures to China or India, which you can read more about through this link: http://climateactiontracker.org/countries.html
Q. Do you believe The Netherlands are doing enough on the matter of climate change?
A. Not at all. A very striking example in this case was the Urgenda climate case, where Urgenda, a Dutch NGO demanded of the government they should finally take on a broader climate policy. The underlying argument was that the environment is a common good, which the government should protect and preserve. Urgenda actually won the case, which proves their claim the Dutch government is not doing enough.
Q. In what way is there coordination between the party GroenLinks and The Greens in the EP?
A. There is a lot of coordination and discussion between both sections, because we belong to the same fraction in the European Parliament. We always attempt to get our message straight.
Q. Could this coordination and cooperation be more efficient in any way?
A. At the moment this is already going quite smoothly, but there is always room for improvement.
Q. What do you think of the system where rich countries buy emission rights from the poorer nations?
A. It truly depends. These systems can vary immensely, as well as the guarantees offered for those emission rights.
Q. What projects are you currently working on in the EP?
A. Among other things I am working on new regulation around the ETS, the quality of the air, fraud and software in cars.
Q. Do you think there is a high chance they will be accepted?
A. We will definitely have adjusted regulation in the end. The questions remains however whether this will be ambitious enough!