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

 

Will EU leaders pick a winner… for energy security?

Press release | June 25, 2014 at 9:37

Brussels – As EU leaders consider measures to improve Europe’s energy security at a summit in Brussels, a new report has exposed European Commission plans as woefully inadequate to cut reliance on energy imports, said Greenpeace. The report...

Media briefing: draft EU plan misses out on huge potential to cut energy imports, report

Publication | June 25, 2014 at 8:00

Strong EU commitments on renewable energy and energy efficiency could reduce the need for imports by 45 per cent by 2030 compared to the EU’s existing plans, according to a new report released today. The report comes as EU leaders prepare to meet...

EU energy ministers warm to 2030 efficiency target

Press release | June 13, 2014 at 13:30

Luxembourg/Brussels – Discussions between European energy ministers today in Luxembourg have revealed growing support for energy efficiency, said Greenpeace.

Italian presidency to tackle EU energy future and genetically modified crops

Publication | June 6, 2014 at 12:33

Italy will take over the six-month presidency of the council of the European Union in July 2014. During these months, a number of important environmental and energy issues will be at the heart of European politics.

G7: no breakthrough on energy independence

Press release | June 5, 2014 at 15:05

Brussels – A meeting of the G7 ends today in Brussels with no breakthrough on the burning issue of energy independence. The leaders of the world’s most industrialised nations were grappling with the effects of the Ukraine crisis on European security.

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