More than 150 people formed the shape of a giant wind turbine in front of the European Parliament in Brussels today to call for more support for community renewable energy projects.
The colourful 'People's windmill' event aimed to send a message that citizen and community-controlled renewables should be at the centre of Europe's energy policy.
Europe's approach to energy for the next 20 years and beyond is currently being discussed by the European Union. Upcoming decisions on targets for greenhouse gas emissions, renewables and energy efficiency for 2030 will determine and shape Europe's success in ending its dependence on polluting fossil fuels and combating climate change.
On Monday (November 11) international climate talks begin in Warsaw, Poland and represent another opportunity for EU politicians to move away from the current dirty energy system which favours the interests of big multinational energy corporations and towards a new, decentralised clean energy system open for all.
Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe said: "Across Europe people are taking power into their own hands and getting involved in producing the energy they need. Our 'People's windmill' event today shows that community energy is the answer to the energy and climate crisis, but governments must get behind it. The EU must show clear support for a renewables-based future by setting a high and binding target for renewable energy for 2030."
Community energy projects exist in many forms right across Europe – from solar villages in Spain, to co-operative wind farms in Belgium, and community energy saving schemes in the Czech Republic – but they need more political attention and backing to fulfil their potential.
Dirk Vansintjan, board member of Ecopower and president of REScoop.eu, said: "Renewable Energy Sources Cooperatives (REScoops) are thriving in Belgium and are proof that a different model of energy production that puts citizens at the centre is possible. Europe needs more community energy projects like ours to shift from fossil and nuclear to renewable sources."
"Everyone can have a role in the new energy system and local authorities can facilitate this. We can involve our citizens in decision making and financing of renewable energy projects, thus helping create a more decentralised energy system", said Joachim Lorenz, permanent councillor for the city of Munich.
The success of multiple cities in lowering emissions has proven that local action is the most effective way to tackle the global climate challenge. A bottom-up approach allows cities access to financing mechanisms to enable innovative climate action. Over 50 mayors from 30 countries recently signed a declaration urging national governments to commit to such an approach and to ambitious and binding climate targets. 
'People's windmill' events are also taking place this week in Austria, Georgia, Spain and the UK.
The event is organised by Friends of the Earth Europe, Climate Alliance, Climate Action Network Europe, Ecopower, ICLEI Europe, Energent, and RESCOOP.eu.
High quality images and film footage of the 'People's windmill' will be available after the event at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/foeeurope
Video footage will be available on request.
 Nantes Declaration of Mayors and Subnational Leaders on Climate Change, September 2013 http://archive.iclei.org/fileadmin/user_upload/documents/Global/initiatives/2013_Nantes_Summit/WorldMayorsSummit2013_Nantes_EN_Declaration_only.pdf
[Brussels, 14 October 2013] - Today EU Environment Ministers set the stage for the EU to play a steering role in pushing an international climate deal forward. History has shown that arriving at the COP  with clear, coherent positions is one of the best ways the EU can positively impact these negotiations.
“The EU’s proposal for 2014 as the deadline for countries to put new climate targets on the table is a good one,” said Ulriikka Aarnio of CAN Europe. “However, ministers did not make any reference to raising the EU’s near-term target. While the EU is calling on others to increase action, it has already more than achieved its current 20% emissions reduction target for 2020, yet still refuses to revise its position. Increasing domestic action is crucial to securing the allies the EU needs to get other countries on board time for an ambitious, binding deal in Paris in 2015.”
[Stockholm, Brussels, 27 September 2013] – Today's report from the IPCC  sets out some stark choices. Scientists are confident that business as usual will bring more deadly heat waves and floods to Europe and seas will rise and acidify further, in turn causing spikes in food prices, food shortages and malnutrition. However, they are certain that there is a clear pathway for avoiding catastrophic climate change, achievable by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions significantly in the next few years as we move toward a zero carbon future.
"The debate about responsibility for climate change is over," said Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network Europe. "Scientists are more certain than ever that humans are causing climate change but fortunately, equally certain that we still have the time and means to fix it. What we need now is for all 28 EU delegates that signed off on this report to take this mandate back to their capitals and urge their governments to take immediate climate action."
For the first time, the IPCC provides a global budget for CO2, which we cannot exceed if we are to prevent devastating levels of global warming. Since the report shows we have already blown through half our carbon budget, we must start reducing carbon emissions immediately.
Unfortunately, the EU's climate ambition has not moved in the past five years and will do nothing to stop us crashing through our global carbon budget. The EU should immediately increase its greenhouse gas reduction target to 40% by 2020 and set three strong, binding targets for renewables, energy savings as well as greenhouse gas emission reductions for 2030 and beyond.
"We don't want to see another comprehensive report on the grim realities of climate change gathering dust on politicians' bookshelves while impacts mount," Trio concluded. "The risk of catastrophic effects from malnutrition, food conflicts, wildfires, floods and extinctions is too great to impose upon the people and nature of Europe."
 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release the first installment of its Fifth Assessment Report, Working Group I - Science, on Monday. Today the IPCC released the Summary for Policy Makers, which was negotiated line by line by governmental delegates this week in Stockholm.
Hi res photos of the NGO boat action in Stockholm, right, available on demand
Vanessa Bulkacz, CAN Europe Communications Manager (in Stockholm): +32 494 525 738, vanessa/at/caneurope.org
Wendel Trio, CAN Europe Director (in Brussels): +32 473 170 887, wendel/at/caneurope.org
Wednesday 25th September - 2-6pm - Climate Action on the Water
The schooner, Constantina, will sail in the Riddarfjärden, the waters close to the IPCC meeting venue at Torkel Knutssonsgatan 2, Stockholm from 2-6pm. Festooned with messages calling on governments to act now on climate change, the ship will provide a great reminder of what the science shows us is at stake and will be visible to delegates at the IPCC venue. Depending on the weather, the schooner may dock at the IPCC venue to give media the opportunity to shoot pictures.
Contact: Vanessa Bulkacz, Climate Action Network Europe, vanessa /at/ caneurope.org, +32 494 525 738.
Friday 27th September - around 11am- The Climate Scream
The loudest public campaign of the year will take place as the IPCC press conference ends. Hundreds of concerned Nordic youth will gather to scream out their anger and frustration about politicians refusing to take climate change seriously.
Location: Münchenbryggeriet, The Brewery Conference Centre, Torkel Knutssonsgatan 2, Stockholm.
Promotional film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CrSGG2H2Zc
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/475729462482122/
Saturday 28th September - 4.30pm-7pm - The Big Climate March
Hundreds of people will gather and march the streets of Stockholm to show politicians that the public is angry and upset with their inability to act according to what the science demands when it comes to one of the biggest global challenges of our time.
The march will move off from Norra Bantorget at 4.30pm and will arrive at Sergels Torg at 5.30pm where speeches will be heard (ideal location for visuals).
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/624731580872085/
Today the European Parliament adopted a compromise to revive the EU's flagging carbon market, the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). With carbon prices already at all-time lows, Member States now need to put the right price on pollution by strengthening today's result.
"The European Parliament has done the minimum to rescue the ETS from redundancy. Member states should back further measures to eliminate these toxic tonnes permanently from the EU's carbon market."Sam Van den plas of WWF European Policy Office.
Parliament rejected provisions that would immediately reintroduce all back-loaded allowances, and provide exemptions and subsidies to heavy industry that assume far higher carbon prices than are seen in reality.
"Today the European Parliament used its second chance to get back-loading right. "By approving back-loading and rejecting several dangerous loopholes that had been proposed as part of a compromise, they've paved the way for the necessary deep reform of the EU ETS. Member States must start to negotiate the final outcome as soon as possible - we have lost enough time already."Julia Michalak, CAN Europe Policy Officer
CAN Europe and WWF call on EU policy makers to come up with robust proposals to increase EU climate action.
In order to define the actions necessary to keep his inauguration promise to tackle climate change, US President Obama will today announce plans to complete carbon pollution standards for both new and existing coal-fired power plants. He is also expected to announce an end to government support for new coal power plants overseas. The climate ball is now in the EU's court.
"Today the US administration announces its plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the single largest source in the country - coal power plants.The EU must follow suit. In recent years, we have seen a marked increase in the amount of electricity generated from coal in the EU, which is the opposite of the trend we need to see to have any chance of addressing the climate crisis." Kathrin Gutmann, Coal Policy Officer at CAN Europe.
Measures the EU must implement to reduce and eventually eliminate emissions from coal -fired power plants include structural reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) to help stimulate a substantially higher price of carbon to de-incentivise the use of coal. In addition, proper implementation of the Industrial Emissions Directive, including closing loopholes that provide exceptions for outdated and highly polluting coal power plants, must be prioritized to protect both the climate and human health.
"Europe can no longer hide behind the excuse of a lack of climate action elsewhere. It must increase its efforts to bring an end to carbon and air pollution, starting with phasing out all coal power plants," Gutmann concluded.