4. Building a sustainable world

The principles of growth and development that underpin our modern society have led to the depletion of resources, climate change and a loss of biodiversity across the planet. The plunder of resources merely for financial ends is not consistent with sustainable development.

The European Free Alliance has supported and defended greater protection of the environment and biodiversity since it was founded. It seeks to limit the impact of human activities on the environment and protect European citizens from all environmental risks to their health; such as the prohibition of genetically modified organisms and glyphosate.

More efforts should be made to reconcile the interests of important national and regional agriculture and fisheries industries with the EU’s climate change goals. Innovation in regional sectors can boost sustainable and organic agriculture, fisheries and rural development and lead to a more comprehensive regional policy.

To achieve this, the EFA favours an energy policy that prioritises energy efficiency and renewable generation. Fossil fuels are CO2-intensive and destined to disappear.

The European Union must anticipate these changes by creating an ambitious energy policy — in line with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — that supports the development of sustainable alternatives to transition away from fossil fuels. The EFA is also against fracking as it leaves regions and nations facing the risk of ground-water contamination. It is essential that our regions and nations exercise more energy sovereignty, deciding on the forms of alternative energy to generate, at what price, and under which circumstances.

Although we support the wide autonomy of regions in defining their energy production, the EFA calls for the phaseout of nuclear power. The production and storage of radioactive waste remains too great a danger to impose on future generations. During the energy transition, solid guarantees for low prices, abundant supply and safety need to be put in place.

Policies and measures to promote sustainable development cannot be successfully implemented without appropriate governance. The EFA also supports all the European initiatives and programmes aimed at encouraging all players to engage in the decision-making process, as it gives us the opportunity to develop a more concerted, balanced and fairer approach to the advancement of Europe’s regions and stateless nations.

The EFA supports renewable energy research in European regions and nations. It also encourages regions and nations to take part in research so that they can positively influence local and European politics around renewable energy and energy efficiency.