Europe - more climate talk than walk

Activists entered a heavily guarded EU summit to tell European leaders to boost their climate commitments to save a climate summit in Copenhagen.

The EU likes to present its climate policies as a model for global green development. In fact, its current target - to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020 against 1990 levels - is shamefully unambitious and fails to provide an incentive for action or technological innovation. Having made over 17 percent reductions by 2009, the EU has years to make just a few percent reductions, a target it will meet under a business as usual scenario.

Greenpeace is calling on the EU to increase its domestic climate target to 30 percent as a first step. There are strong environmental and economic arguments for doing so. A study by Oxford and Sorbonne Universities, among others, found that a 30 percent target could create a net six million new European jobs by 2020. Shifting away from fossil fuels will help shield Europe’s economies from ever unstable fuel prices. These are among the reasons why Unilever, Philips, Google and Axa are among nearly 100 major companies now calling on EU governments to support a 30 percent climate target.

Less developed parts of the EU, particularly Central and Eastern Europe, can unlock significant investments in carbon reduction and energy modernisation under a 30 percent climate target. To achieve this, the EU should create financial mechanisms for this region to mobilise private investment in, for example, buildings renovation, industrial energy efficiency and energy infrastructure programmes. This would deliver fuel cost savings, energy security and new jobs.

Greenpeace advocates strengthening the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, which threatens to worsen rather than resolve Europe’s emissions. The EU should auction rather than give out free emission allowances, working within the market system to efficiently reduce the cost of climate action, maximise benefits and eliminate windfall profits. The scheme could and should be a driver for domestic emission reductions, geared to a 30 percent climate target. Any ‘carbon offset’ projects should be subject to strict criteria to guarantee real emissions cuts.

Internationally, the EU should be at the heart of a coalition to deliver a new international climate regime in the next years. This requires effective cooperation with progressive industrialised countries and emerging economies within and beyond the UN climate negotiations.

 

EU leadership could deliver headlines we would all be proud about

The latest updates

 

New EU state aid rules a blow for UK nuclear energy plan – Greenpeace

Press release | April 9, 2014 at 12:39

Brussels – New rules on state aid adopted today by the European Commission will make it harder for the UK and other governments to subsidise nuclear energy projects like the new reactors at Hinkley Point, said Greenpeace.

Subsidising the past

Publication | April 8, 2014 at 14:19

A new report prepared by the Warsaw Institute for Economic Studies for Greenpeace Poland reveals that cumulative public financial support for coal-based power in Poland amounted to PLN170 billion (€40.5 billion2) between 1990 and 2012. In...

EU summit: to Russia with love… and cash

Press release | March 21, 2014 at 13:39

Brussels – EU leaders meeting at a summit in Brussels have postponed decisions on a new climate and energy deal that could help wean Europe off expensive energy imports, said Greenpeace. The heads of state and government recognised the need for...

Energy: a thorny issue for the EU summit

Publication | March 19, 2014 at 8:03

Top billing at this week's EU summit (20 and 21 March) will go to the crisis unfolding in Ukraine. Beyond immediate security concerns, developments in Crimea are likely to focus the minds of EU leaders on the need to strengthen the EU’s energy...

Greenpeace applauds European Parliament call to protect the Arctic

Press release | March 12, 2014 at 13:13

Brussels - Today’s European Parliament resolution calling on the European Commission, the EU’s External Action Services and EU governments to protect the fragile Arctic environment is an encouraging initiative, according to Greenpeace. The...

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