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

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Wo ist Angela Merkel?

Blog entry by Franziska Achterberg | October 22, 2014

As Europe’s politicians decide about the bloc’s energy future (some even call it an Energy Union) on Thursday and Friday this week, the German government appears to have left the stage. Earlier this month, the European Commission...

Good cop, bad cop and the usual suspects at the EU October summit

Publication | October 17, 2014 at 13:05

MEDIA BRIEFING - Next week, on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 October, EU leaders will meet in Brussels to agree on EU climate and energy targets up to 2030.

Companies call on EU leaders to back ambitious climate and energy policies

Blog entry by Jorgo Riss | October 14, 2014

In the past, politicians have often been the ones pushing companies to become more conscious of health and safety issues. American politicians insisted that car companies install seatbelts. European politicians voted for hormone...

Tied down: Why Europe’s energy giants want to keep us hooked on imported fossil fuels

Publication | October 9, 2014 at 10:09

Greenpeace’s report "Tied down: Why Europe’s energy giants want to keep us hooked on imported fossil fuels", shows Europe’s eight biggest power companies rely on imports for a third of their revenue from EU sales of power and gas. In 2011, they...

Commission ignores emissions from tar sands under EU clean fuel standards

Press release | October 7, 2014 at 12:58

Brussels – Oil from tar sands and other high carbon sources would be excluded from fuel carbon accounting under a plan released today by the European Commission, warned Greenpeace.

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