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

 

Activists set up solar panels on European Parliament as EU talks on renewables enter...

Press release | May 17, 2018 at 9:40

Brussels – Activists have installed solar panels on the European Parliament in Brussels on the day EU talks on renewable energy enter a crucial stage.

Make or break for renewable energy in Europe

Publication | May 15, 2018 at 16:34

Greenpeace EU media briefing On 17 May, negotiators representing European governments, the European Parliament and the European Commission will hold crunch talks on Europe’s renewable energy laws. The talks will determine the EU's 2030...

EU must not waste second shot to come good on climate change, Greenpeace

Press release | March 22, 2018 at 23:00

Brussels - Heads of government meeting in Brussels have asked the European Commission to review the European Union’s efforts on climate change in view of pledges made under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

European Parliament committee restricts controversial subsidies to coal, gas and...

Press release | February 21, 2018 at 10:22

Brussels - The European Parliament’s energy committee has proposed restrictions for controversial subsidies for energy utilities in its vote on the energy market reform. So-called capacity mechanisms - national subsidies to keep power plants on...

European Parliament votes to increase renewable energy target

Press release | January 17, 2018 at 14:03

Strasbourg – Today the European Parliament voted to increase the EU’s 2030 renewable energy target to 35 per cent.

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