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


Greenpeace press reaction on the Commission‘s rescue package for carmakers and the...

Press release | November 26, 2008 at 0:00

Brussels, Belgium — Christmas has come early for the automotive industry, after the European Commission pledged to deliver a generous rescue package of €5 billion in 2009 despite the industry’s resistance to legislation to reduce car CO2 emissions.

A week ahead of Poznan - where is Europe’s climate leadership?

Publication | November 25, 2008 at 0:00

In a week’s time Europe’s Environment Ministers will go to Poznan to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP14), a crucial milestone in negotiations for a global deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2012. The EU’s energy...

European leadership lacking ahead of global climate talks

Press release | November 25, 2008 at 0:00

Brussels, Belgium — Europe will face major embarrassment at international climate change talks next week if it fails to live up to its commitment to tackle global warming, environment and development groups warned today.

CO2 from cars – the Council position on car emissions

Publication | November 18, 2008 at 0:00

If all the loopholes proposed in Council were adopted, the first-ever EU standard on CO2 emissions from passenger cars would never reach its stated objective of an average 130 grams CO2 per kilometre.

Last chance saloon for EU car emissions legislation

Press release | November 18, 2008 at 0:00

Brussels, Belgium — Negotiations on CO2 emission standards for cars could result in legislation bordering on useless, said Greenpeace following a meeting between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission today to hammer out the...

311 - 315 of 424 results.