Thom Yorke calls on governments and
European Union to commit to year-on-year emission cuts
Brussels, February 27 - A Europe-wide climate
campaign launched today by Friends of the Earth Europe and the Radiohead
frontman Thom Yorke aims to get governments and the European Union to commit to
annual cuts in emissions to fight climate change.
The Big Ask brings together Friends of the
Earth groups from 17 European countries  each of which is asking its
government to introduce legally binding annual emission cuts. Together they are
asking the European Union to force all member states to cut their emissions
on the image to watch highlights of the launch of the Big Ask in Europe.
Thom Yorke launched the European campaign in Brussels where he presented a symbol of the Big Ask to the European Environment
Commissioner, Stavros Dimas. Thom Yorke has supported the Big Ask campaign in
the UK where thanks to two years of campaigning from Friends of the Earth, a
ground- breaking climate change bill is currently being made law. Now he is
bringing the campaign to the rest of Europe.
Thom Yorke said: "We will never wake
from the nightmare of climate change unless our national governments and the
European Union act. They are the ones who will write the laws that we must
follow as citizens and in business. They are the only ones who can put the
structures in place that will help us tackle climate change. That is why we are
launching the Big Ask in seventeen countries in Europe. By committing to annual
cuts in our emissions at a national and European level we can play our part in
tackling climate change, and hopefully set an example for the rest of world to
follow. Hundreds of thousands of people want to see their governments doing
more about climate change. If you are one of them then find out more about
Friends of the Earth Europe's Big Ask campaign in your country at www.thebigask.eu."
Around Europe people are being asked to send a
message to their politicians asking them to commit to annual cuts in emissions.
Individuals can find out more about their national campaign at the Big Ask
website which is also being launched today: www.thebigask.eu
Different activities took place across the
continent to mark the start of the European campaign. In Finland activists raised awareness with snowman rallies in 22 towns and cities while in the Netherlands activists built a dyke in front of the parliament building and invited
politicians and celebrities to fill the gaps with sand-bags.
At a European level Friends of the Earth
Europe wants to see annual emission reductions for all member states and a
strong compliance system to guarantee that these cuts really take place .
Rocholl, Chair of Friends of the Earth Europe
said: "It is too easy for Governments
to ignore long term targets on climate change. Annual targets will make today's
and tomorrow's politicians accountable for cutting emissions and pressure them
to actually deliver. The European Union also needs to put forward a strong
penalty system to make sure countries really meet their targets every year and
the cuts we urgently need really happen. Taking real action is a great chance
for Europe to lead the world in the fight against climate change and to show
how countries can boost their economies, stay competitive, create jobs and
improve the environment at the same time."
the Big Ask, people across Europe will be able to call on their governments and
the European Union to act against climate change. As a grassroots network
Friends of the Earth is uniquely placed to generate this kind of people power
and really make politicians sit up and listen."
The Big Ask calls on the European Union to
commit to at least 30 per cent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions within Europe by 2020 and 90 per cent by 2050. Friends of the Earth Europe has criticised the
European Union's recent proposal to cut emissions by only 20 per cent by 2020
and for giving no guarantee that these targets will be met. 
For more information, please contact:
Sonja Meister, Climate Campaigner at Friends
of the Earth Europe:
+ 49 176 64608515 (German mobile)
Francesca Gater, Communications Officer for
Friends of the Earth Europe:
Tel: +32 2542 6105 and +32 485 930515 (Belgian mobile)