Energy efficiency days: calling on citizens to act

Households are responsible for almost 50% of CO2 emissions: it is crucial to reach out to all European citizens and make them reduce their consumption of energy and resources in order to protect the planet: this was the main message of the launch event of the EESC’s energy efficiency days, currently being held in Brussels at the award-winning energy efficient “Pallet House”.

EESC President Mario Sepi called upon political stakeholders to show more courage and to confront the problem head-on: “We cannot afford to wait another 20 or 25 years!” He announced that the EESC November Plenary Session will forward a resolution to the December 2009 Copenhagen Summit.

Linking energy efficiency and climate change to the current economic and social crisis, President Sepi called for a new model of consumption going hand- in- hand with a new economic and social model. “It is vital to take citizens along and to convince them that less energy consumption does not mean a lower quality of life”, concluded President Sepi.

EU energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs thanked the architects of the Pallet house for their innovative idea of creating an energy efficient building out of wooden pallets. Projects like the Pallet House –which the EESC had the wonderful idea of promoting in the very heart of Brussels – are vital in mobilising citizens to act.

Belgian explorer Alain Hubert considers the question of energy efficiency “vital to the future of our society”. Projects like the Pallet House, or the Belgian zero emission research station in Antarctica, show citizens what can be possible. Other speakers such as Evelyne Huytebroek, Environment Minister of the Brussels-Capital Region, and MEP Patrizia Toia, outlined specific actions that had been undertaken at local and European level in order to reduce energy consumption. Freddy Thielemans, Mayor of Brussels, welcomed the initiative. EESC President Irini Pari called for a collective effort to save the planet.

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